WHAT A DAY! Today we celebrated and shared with a portion of our school community that is just as important as the teaching staff – the parents (who am I kidding? MORE important). My high school has about 1,100 students and today we almost added an additional 400 or so additional people in and around our building. The addition of just those few bodies really filled the space fast. I commented to a parent about how truly crowded it felt.
We started the day with a generous breakfast, quick comments by our NHS President, Superintendent, and Principal. A word of thanks for the continual support of the student body, a positive plug for being one of 9 districts in the state of Wisconsin that truly excelled on the state report card, a few rules of the day, and then a “good luck” wish for the parents as they hit the halls for a taste of the classes their children experience. What started out 14 years ago with about 80 parents (and kids praying hard the night prior that their parents would forget about the invitation) has grown to a HUGE turnout (and kids proud to be toting their folks around the building – showing off to them the level of hard work they have to go through on a daily basis in the building. The challenges that await the parents are VASTLY different for the majority of them as they enter a high school with higher expectations, deeper challenges, and more rigorous classes than they had when they wore the hat of the student.
My classes operated with a slight change from the ordinary. My introduction to the class took a few minutes more than usual. Other than that, it was get out and WORK, just like normal. I was so happy to see parents getting their hands into the art making experience. Questions were asked, challenges were met, stories were shared, and I truly saw learning and bonding happen (maybe bonding because of the paper mache – but I think a stronger bond than a 55% glue to 45% water mixture will ever have). I was fortunate enough to even have my mom come in and share the day. She challenged her hands at watercolors in the first period with a continuous line drawing I made up for her.
While I could not get out of my classroom to get a feel for the day, I was truly impressed with the enthusiasm, encouragement, problem solving, and FUN the parents were having with their kids. I only wish I could do this with my daughter at her school. This opportunity gave me the chance to introduce myself to the parents, explain the process I go through with their kids each and every day of the school year, and rationale for that process. Having the other support system in the same room is a wonderful plus in the day. I feel a little bad for the children whose parents were not able to join them for the day, for whatever reason. Hopefully the conversation about parent’s day will make it to the kitchen table for them. I look forward to the feedback from the parents who were in my classroom as to how their experience was and how I might be able to help their children out as the year progresses.