Musings on “Meet the Teacher”


Around here, late August not only means The First Day of School but also very soon after, “Meet the Teacher” night.  Growing up, I remember we had “Open House” in the middle of the semester, so we could show off our work to our parents and introduce our teachers (if they hadn’t already met them by then) but I don’t ever recall anything like this:  About a week or even a few days after school starts, parents of elementary and secondary students get to “walk their child’s schedule”, without the child present, visiting each classroom via a “special bell schedule” and sitting in class while hearing a brief presentation from the teacher.  Each presentation takes only about 10-12 minutes, and you have five minutes between them, so you may or may not get to personally meet the teacher on Meet the Teacher night (and if you take the time to do this, you might be late to your next “class”.)


At an elementary school, it’s easy. The parents generally get to stay in one classroom the whole time (unless you have more than one child attending the school).  In jr. high and high school, it’s a full two hours of walking the halls and trying to find the classrooms.  But no matter what level of school, all the parents sit in desks. Yep, that’s right, we put our (sometimes) fat adult bodies into those made-for-kids desks (“Ow! My back!”), complete with dried gum stuck beneath the seats, all lined in rows, facing the teacher.


Sometimes, the experience can only be described as “weird”.  Like the time the teacher talked to all of us parents in the same singsong manner she used with her young students (made me wonder if we were going to get a juice box and take a nap).  Or the time the teacher pointed her finger at us and gave us all a lecture like she was talking to her misbehaving students (I badly wanted to throw a spitball at her, but I held back). 


But sometimes it’s sorta fun, like one big “Fast Times” flashback moment. When the bell rings, you get to pass through the halls and wave to all your homies (er, I mean other parents) who you haven’t seen all summer, just like it used to be in your first week of school.  And, ya gotta think those Dads who are going through mid-life crisis are totally digging imagining that they’re young again as they sit in those classrooms, especially if the teacher addressing them happens to be young, female, and pretty…


At Allison’s school’s “Meet the Teacher” night last Monday (our 16th “MTT” to date), I had fun imagining, for a brief moment, that I was in high school again…only notice I said brief, since the guy sitting at the desk in front of me had a graying bald spot on the back of his head. And there was no “U.S.S.R.” on the world map.  And the teacher was talking about the new cell phone policy…. I took notes on what the teacher was saying, only I wondered what would happen if I wrote a “love note” and passed it to Andy instead…


Guess I’ll never know.  The bell rang and he had to leave to go play in a church softball game.  I was stuck navigating the halls alone, and was late to the next two “classes”, which I went far out of my way, in circles, to find.  Oh, well, at least it was good exercise. But I hope it doesn’t prompt any of those recurring dreams so many of us have once in awhile, of being back in school and forgetting our locker combination, or coming to school and not realizing we are wearing only our underwear…

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