Friday, September 2, 2011

Back to School Night

Back-To-School Night

This post is little unusual but, I decided to share.
 Visiting to children's school event  “Back to School” night took me back to my high school years in Ahmedabad, India. All parents will agree with me on this being very important and crucial event in terms of participating in the kids’ academic life. At least for me, it always is. When they are talking about their teachers, I could put face and personality behind the names.

“Back-to-School Night” happens in the second week of the school year and Parents are invited to experience their child’s academic life in two hours. Now you know why I did not want to miss it. The whole idea behind this is to meet the teachers and learn their teaching methods and the materials. Normally, parents follow their child’s day class schedule and spend 15 minutes in one class and go to the next class in 3 minutes and spend 15 minutes there. Having both children (Praniti and Curran) in 11th grade and taking different classes, I had two schedules of 7 periods. So I chose 7 subjects from both the schedules and made my own schedule and I was prepared with school campus map, my routes drawn over (check it out), a torch and a comfortable pair of shoes.

The Gunn high school is clustered in separate one story wings/buildings encompassing small classrooms. These classrooms are flanked with corridors on both sides. Of course, there are trees and shrubs along the buildings. The teachers have their classrooms and the students go from one class to another class unlike in the school, I studied the students stay in one room for all the classes , the teachers come to your class.All parents started this tour at 7.00PM from the Spannenbeg Stadium and we completed at 9.00PM. I move to the next class when the bell rings and I followed the routes and two times, I had to almost run. The decision of wearing comfortable shoes proved right and I could reach to the class in 3 minutes. Of course, I had to be disciplined and not look up to say hi or smile to other parents. I was pleased with almost all the teachers and amazed with few due to their teaching styles and credentials. What impressed me was different approaches of communications our children experience.  Along with traditional materials, the classrooms had digital smart boards, livescribes and the teachers used latest presentation techniques. One younger teacher used "Hands On" method to communicate with the parents. He made us do experiment of lighting a bulb in four ways with one battery. At the same time, he projected his bio-data and the study materials on two walls, very  glamorous and entertaining. Few teachers have their websites to deliver current study materials along with the school portal. I could not believe that my son will have access to lab equipment to do his own gene research in the Advanced Biology class. At 15, I did not have all these things and facilities.  I also loved the reading and study materials of  English and Mythology (Odysse by Homer, Hamlet, and many "classics").  The Law class is University of California recognized  and focuses on Criminal Justice system. These teachers were diverse and impressive, they loved their subjects and had ambitious teaching goals. My children are fortunate to have these resources.

I copied few quotes hung over the walls of  couple of classes, I have to share few here-
"Never buy a Beige Car"-  (The teacher had regret of buying a gray car.)
"Beware of a person who has nothing to loose".
"Forget Committees : Great Ideas usually come from one person, working alone". (inspiring)
And I really love this one- Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.

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