We just got back from the titular event and I have to say, I love my kids' school.

Lauren is in 3rd grade and Olivia is in the autism program in 1st grade. Lauren has one teacher and Olivia has at least three (more if you count her speech therapist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist).

The best part of the evening for me was Olivia's teacher telling me through her tears, how much progress Olivia is making. I love that she is so emotionally attached to the children. Olivia still communicates primarily (she has a limited verbal vocabulary and a small inventory of signs) via a communication board by which she has meaningful pictures that substitute for words and phrases. She's mastering several new pictures ("I need the potty" Yes!) and is therefore increasing her vocabulary and is starting to write and use a keyboard.

Lauren is pretty much an average third grader which is a very good thing (and I can still understand her homework). Olivia is a handful and Brenda and I are very careful to spread our attention around evenly so Lauren doesn't get lost in the shuffle.

Anyway, good people work at their school and I feel blessed to be associated with them.

Six Replies to Back to School Night

Amy Austin | September 10, 2008
A good school is definitely a very good thing. I can't help but wonder what the hey? whenever I hear talk about doing away with the Dept of Education -- I can only imagine what teachers like this would cost parents like you. (Believe it or not, even though I don't have children, it's a fairly regular topic of thought for me because of working across the hall from an awesome 5th grade program -- Starbase Atlantis, which is federally funded in parts by NASA and Congress, specifically as a math & science outreach -- and two of the many teachers who help make it a success... as well as the percentage of similarly challenged children. I swear, it seems like there's at least one (usu Downs or autism) for every one or two classes of 24, and I've learned a lot about what it takes to include these kids in the classroom, here and in general. Heck, even a kid with peanut allergies poses a challenge these days! I don't know how they keep teachers if they *aren't* emotionally invested in their jobs and the kids they help -- it definitely seems to be a labor of love, because what you describe seems to be the biggest payoff/reward for them. Lucky you & lucky Olivia -- glad you had a positive open house experience with her teachers. ;-)

Aaron Shurtleff | September 10, 2008

Beavis and Butthead aside...

It's also good that you go to those kinds of events. I've heard from teachers I know that a lot of parents don't even bother with parent-teacher conference type events. Hands-on parenting, I think, is also a big help in letting teachers know that the parents support their work, which I think inspires them to enjoy their job.

Amy Austin | September 10, 2008
Definitely. "Hands-on parenting" is a diminishing "family value" that *everyone* should be fighting harder to hold on to, that's for sure -- and its disappearance is indisputably discouraging to teachers, too.

Scott Hardie | September 10, 2008
Somehow I always wound up coming along to my parent-teacher nights, which meant I either got to hear what a teacher really thought of me, or shielded my parents from harsh criticism of me, depending on the teacher.

Making a teacher cry can be a good thing, or a bad thing.

Kelly Hardie | September 11, 2008
Eh. Being emotionally attached to a student can be a very bad thing. I've found that in the sped programs, and special schools, emotional attachment to the kids is pretty standard. But in public schools, teachers must keep a level of detachment from the kids. It's not professional, and it creates a strain of playing favorites and levels of pecking order. IMO, each teacher in a regular classroom must strive to treat each kid fairly and not choose favorites.

I've seen a classroom where a teacher and a student HATED each other, because she was not the favorite and it ended with the student bringing a boxcutter to school and threatening her with it. (and getting expelled from that alternative school, and jail time.)

But for autistic kids....emotional attachment is very easy to make. I've done it, unfortunately with a downs syndrome kid, and others.

Jackie Mason | September 12, 2008
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