Conversations in Education
From teacher book groups to conversations in the faculty lounge, Prep faculty and administrators think a lot about how we support students. Each month in 2017-18, we are featuring a piece by a Prep faculty member or administrator that gives a slice of life at Prep. If you would like to share your ideas, feel free to comment on an individual post or contact Dean of Studies Sarah Cooper.
From teacher book groups to conversations in the faculty lounge, Prep faculty read and talk a lot about education. Each month we highlight a few memorable pieces or videos. Our goal is to make the process of parenting, learning and living a little saner, to put things a little more in perspective. These articles will be chosen by Prep teachers and administrators. If you want to share your ideas, feel free to comment on an individual post or contact Dean of Studies Sarah Cooper.
6 Ways to Enjoy Back-to-School Night
By Sarah Cooper
Back to School Night has often felt to me like giving a backstage tour during a play. The students are in the wings for the moment, and you as parents get to see what makes the day-to-day classroom tick.
Having been to my share of back-to-school nights as a teacher and a parent, I’ve also seen the evening from the other side. It is such a pleasure to watch enthusiastic teachers explain their craft.
On that note, here are some tips for enjoying the night as much as possible. Curtain up!
Look for moments to connect with your kid.
If you can remember just one personal or professional detail about each teacher’s class and then bring it up during the following week or month with your student, you’ll create a pathway into any school subject, even if your child isn’t prone to giving a lot of details (and many aren’t). In the past I’ve asked my own kids about a teacher’s Star Wars poster, or NASA bumper sticker, as a way into finding out about a teacher’s passions.
Listen for values.
Many teachers at Prep discuss the school’s mission statement, vision statement and honor code with their students at the beginning of the year. Consider what your student will learn from all these different teachers in terms of character and values, not just academics.
Imagine moments of engagement during the school day.
While sitting in each desk, put yourself into your student’s head: How might he feel when he’s in class? What would pique her interest in this teacher’s presentation style? Watching teachers teach is special because you can see what lights them up. And if you were especially impressed by something a teacher said, feel free to say so afterward or send an email. We teach because we love it, but a specific, heartfelt comment can add a spark to our day.
Often we can see a family resemblance between you and your child, but sometimes amid the buzz we can’t remember the wonderful adolescent you belong to, even if we’ve met before. Please say a brief hello coming in or out, and follow up with an email or phone call if you want to continue the conversation. We’re always happy to learn more about you and your family.
Consider what goes into this night.
Performing five times, ten minutes each, to an audience of thoughtful parents can daunt even the most seasoned teacher. Crack a smile once in a while if there's something funny or appealing—the teacher will thank you for it!
Enjoy this whirlwind tour.
Middle and high school go all too fast. Back to School Night at Prep is a chance to see some of the best teachers anywhere spin their tales and hook you in. Your kids get to be here every day. You get one night a year. Please, sit back and enjoy!
Choose groups to clone to: