I love going to curriculum night at school, to get to know the people who will be teaching my child, to see his desk and his messy little handwriting, to check out his pictures around the room and the bizarre claims he makes (“My favorite food is escargot.” Seriously? You’ve never even eaten a vegetable much less a snail.) What I don’t like is the other parents.
I take that back. For the most part, I do like the other parents, and love seeing them after a nice summer break. It’ just THAT parent who I don’t really care for.
You know THAT parent….
She’s the one who makes sure everyone in the class knows that her child is advanced by asking questions like, “What do you do for children who are farther along than their peers in mathematics? My son mastered his multiplication table at age 4 and will really be bored with this curriculum.” Relax, and take it offline in a private conversation with the teacher.
She’s the one who has already signed up to chair every committee because she needs to be involved in every decision made at the school. “Who chose the Scholastic Reading program instead of the MacMillan Reading Program and why did they choose it?” Relax, and find meaningful ways to support the classroom teachers.
She's the one who questions school policy because it doesn’t suit her child’s specific wants and needs. “Is it really necessary for the kids to wear tennis shoes on PE days? If my daughter can run a 6-minute mile in flip flops shouldn’t she be allowed to?” Relax, and look at things from a broad perspective, not just your own. Then take it up with the appropriate personnel if needed.
She’s the one who thinks that because she read a book on learning strategies she knows how to teach. “Do you prefer inquiry-guided learning or problem-based learning when teaching social studies?” Relax, do you have someone at work who knows just enough to be dangerous questioning your every move?
She’s the one who stresses me out, who crosses that fine line between being involved and being obnoxious.
Maybe it’s my benign neglect approach to parenting. Perhaps it’s that this year I’m heading to the elementary classroom of my third child with a little more experience. Or maybe it’s that after a few years of stressing out and worrying over every detail I’ve finally realized the key to a good start to the school year: relax.
Relax….You can be involved and informed. You can be encouraging and supportive. Please just don’t be THAT parent.