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- A Message from the Year 2040: How a Year of COVID Learning Forever Changed My Life - November 23, 2020
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- DON’T BE FOOLED: The Fall Will Be Difficult, But Teachers Were Demoralized Long Before COVID-19 - August 13, 2020
- Teaching in the Midst of the Corona Crisis - March 18, 2020
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WARNING: This article could have been twice or five or ten times as long. The fact that I listed only five items reflects not my naivety, but my desire to keep this article under 1500 words and my editor happy. Enjoy!
#1: Back to School Night. Nobody wants to say it so I will. No one really enjoys Back to School Night.
Not the parents who feel obligated because of a vague but powerful notion that “good parents” always attend such events, even when they desperately don’t want to.
Not the teachers who do not look forward to coming back to their classrooms after a long day teaching—especially in the late summer after having already sweated it out for hours on end.
Not the administrators who must organize, execute, and satisfy a long list of to-dos in order to satisfy their districts, their parents, and their teachers.
There was certainly a time and a place for Back to School Night in earlier generations. And even today Back to School Night makes a lot of sense for K-6 students who cannot be counted on to pass on information to their parents about classroom policies, teacher preferences, or the school calendar of events.
But for modern middle and high school students, Back to School Night is unnecessary, and yes, terribly awkward, event for everyone involved. Parents rush from classroom to classroom for two hours on campus they are usually unfamiliar with in order to be exposed to the most basic of presentations about a specific class and teacher.
With the advent of e-mail and apps such as Remind or Bloomz, teachers can engage in more direct and meaningful communication with parents. And for the more adventurous teachers, encourage parents who really want the scoop of what happens in class every day to come to school one day and attend themselves. I have been doing this for years and the parents always seem to enjoy it—especially when they don’t tell their son or daughter they are coming to class.
Click here for number 2.