Back-to-School Night. Again. As the kids like to say (sarcastically), “Ah, good times.”
1. Intro and parade wave to the crowd in the MultiPurpose Room.
2. Principal saying that (s)he is releasing us early to let us get ready. Why the group appearance? I don’t get it. They’re going to see us in 10 minutes.
3. Early birds dogging you beforehand.
4. People forgetting (or ignoring) the rule about no individual chats about YOUR child. 5. People forgetting (or ignoring) the rule about leaving the students at home. Too many trade secrets get out that way.
6. The glasses speech. Every year I catch several kids who need glasses, but have been claiming they don’t for months. I already got three this year. I tell the kids: “If my 47 (and change) year-old eyes can see that, and you can’t; you need glasses.” I tell the parents: “If your students come home and say Mr. Coward was mean and said they need glasses, they do.”
7. The three-word phrase shtick. I remembered a new one this year, Not my fault. A classic right up there with “It’s not fair.” Nice lead-in for the…
8. The you’ve-already-done-seventh grade speech. Make the kids do the work and accept the responsibility. Etc.
9. The KBAR speech. Make them take care of the paperwork. Make sure they are reading EVERY night – no such thing as rollover minutes in KBAR. Reading their responses is how I get into their heads. KBAR is life for the first six weeks, while we read Outsiders in class, and demo the reading/thinking process. And so forth.
10. The homework speech. I assign the whole week on Monday (it helps me plan the week’s activities), and the first thing we do each week is go over the homework assignments. “So if your students come home and say that Mr. Coward just assigned this today, and it’s due tomorrow, it’s a lie. Also, if it is Monday through Thursday, and they say they don’t have English homework? That too is a lie.”
11. Closely related is the make-them-prove-it speech. “You say this is done? Show me.” This leads to the fishing-through-the-backpack-for-10-minutes-pretending-to-look-for-the-homework-we-both-know-isn’t-there story.
12. The timer. I promise the kids every year that I’ll try to scare the bejabbers out of their parents like I do them. Mission accomplished. (Except for one class where I finished early, and they were ready .) The timer also assures that I keep to the ten minutes, since sometimes the person on the PA (substituting for bells) obviously can’t tell time.
13. The administrative fakie. The PA announcement that “immediately after the last period, all teachers should report to the staff lounge for an important meeting.” This is supposedly to prevent people lingering at the end, so we can bolt from the classroom with an excuse. I don’t think any of the parents hear it.