Back To School Night
I am the only teacher in my department who likes Back to School night. Everyone bitches and moans in the days leading up to it (actually, we have two, because our student body is so big they split the alphabet) about how we have to stay there so late and they hate getting dressed up and talking to parents and what a colossal pain in the ass it all is.
But I think (secretly--they'd scorn me if they knew) that Back to School Night is like a first date--you get all dressed up and feel a little nervous anticipation, you hope you'll make a good impression and that the other person won't be a jerk.
And like a first date, no one has had a chance to screw up yet. I get some insight into my students by meeting their parents, and we can smile at each other and be glad to meet. Soon enough I'll be meeting some of them in a guidance counselor's office, both of us feeling anxious or pissed off.
It's untainted, and hopeful.
But leaving this week's Back to School Night, I couldn't wait to escape the building and it's not just because it was the hottest September night any of us could remember. It just felt so heavy with so much emotion, and need--parents came up to me or wrote notes saying, "Jessi has epilepsy," "John was just mainstreamed last year," "Kara needs to work on her writing," "Andrew loves
to read; he has books everywhere," and I shook their hands and answered their questions and waved to parents of students I've had before and it all just felt so... thick. The air was thick with the hope and the fear and in that building were child abusers and enablers and worriers and hearts overflowing with what they want for their children. It was oppressive, all that feeling
concentrated in one place.
How can I possibly do this? It's too much for me sometimes.