Tonight I got to don a pair of blue jeans and platform sandals and go back to high school. To the 10th grade, to be exact. It was Open House night at my son’s high school – the night early in the school year that we parents get to pretend we’ve dialed back the clock about 35 years (give or take a few) and spend three hours re-enacting our kids’ school day.
That's nine periods of classes, with about five minutes in between to navigate the circuitous and often bottlenecked hallway intersections to find the next classroom. Remember the mad dash from one end of campus to the other, tapping the backs of friends you pass at seemingly lightning speed that suffice as a greeting? We attend each class for about 10 minutes, listening to each of nine teachers describe the year’s curriculum, how they approach their respective subjects and how to know when we – the parents – should raise the SOS flag...via email, of course. (How did my parents raise the SOS flag back in the 70s? Did they even know they had one to raise?)
Breathless from the relentless schedule of back-and-forth classes across the campus, I came away with the following observations:
- We are privileged to live in a community with such a high standard for its public schools.
- My teenager will have at least one last amazing year of great classes and outstanding teachers before the reality of SATs and college visits starts crashing in on him.
- Secondary education is so much more fascinating now (as a parent) than it was those oh so many years ago (as a student).
- My ex and I did at least one thing right: we spaced our kids out far enough so that they will never again occupy the same school building together. Meaning that come Open House night, we will never need to bounce between our kids’ competing schedules.