Getting Ready for Virtual Meet the Teacher Night

For the second year, teachers will meet and greet families in a web conference. I hope the event is an overwhelming success.

(Day 28 of my 30-Day Writing Challenge)

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

Remembering “Meet the Teacher Night” When I Was in High School

“Meet the Teacher” Night may be an important event in your district, or it may be a long, lonely night. When I was in high school, it was the former. Families roamed the halls, anxious to meet their child’s teachers and friends. The teachers were enthusiastic and prepared to share information and answer questions.

I went to a rigorous college-preparatory high school in Philadelphia. Families and students were determined to ensure the student would go on to college, and 99% of graduates did.

Teachers were valued; their knowledge and skills were respected. Several teachers were PhDs or in a PhD program. Every teacher had a Master’s degree. They could not teach there without one, since the waiting list was long and competition fierce.

In short, it was a celebratory atmosphere. Families and students were hopeful. Teachers were excited. There was a common goal, namely student success.

There were exceptions, of course. Some teachers and families were not as excited as the rest of us. We are all human, after all.

How Things Have Changed

For reasons which escape my understanding at 5:36 AM on a Saturday, teachers no longer command the same level of respect as my teachers. In this current environment, it’s almost an adversarial relationship. Even when my son was in secondary school (he graduated in 2019), the interaction between families and teachers was much more respectful than I am reading about in 2021.

The districts emphasize the partnership between school and families, but teachers often find that collaboration with parents is the exception to the “rule.” Instead of strategizing ways to help the student improve, families blame the teacher, for example. Teachers experience pushback on behavior management and discipline issues, along with academic concerns. Sometimes, calling a parent has become a nightmare for some teachers. Others make the call and receive no response.

It’s no surprise then that “Meet the Teacher” Night is a long, lonely night for those teachers. When combined with the controversies about masks, vaccines, and social distancing, I understand why districts would decide to make the event a virtual one.

I have a feeling many teachers hope no one shows up, so the adversarial relationship does not play out in such a public way. In general, people are bolder online. Physical proximity tempers the negative attitude. People are less inclined to speak without a filter when in the same room.

Still, There Are Reasons to Be Hopeful

  • There are families who are adversarial, but many more who are appreciative and collaborative.
  • After a terrible school year, many families are hoping to strategize with teachers to help the students.
  • We teachers are brainstorming, collaborating, and developing curricula to mitigate the issues brought on by learning interruptions last year.
  • Many of us believe in working together.
  • Many of us appreciate each other.
  • Many of us are coming from a place of love and commitment to the students.
  • Many of us are ready to address those who aren’t respectful, noncombative manner.
  • Many of us are hopeful.

So, let’s start this school year with a terrific “Meet the Teacher” Night, whether in person or, as in my case, virtual.

Thank you for reading this, my twenty-eighth post of my 30-Day Writing Challenge. I am so grateful.

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