Queen of the Quadratic

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Update: Open House

I didn't have enough time to produce a presentation for open house. I do have a fairly decent teacher web page with a lot of good resource links and document links and information about tutoring times, test make-up times, contact information, etc, so I simply pulled up my webpage and walked them through the grand tour. I have a really nifty presentation device that we call an "echalkboard" (though that isn't the official name) that comes with some nice software that allows me to display anything on my computer and then write over it (without damaging the integrity of the original document/webpage/photo/whatever). Many of the parents in attendance were mesmerized by my toy, so that helped fill the time. During the 13 minutes each that I would've had for lunch and conference, I intended to grade a few papers, rest my voice, etc, but that plan was foiled by ONE parent each stopping by because they were in a later class and wanted to get home earlier to catch some TV show. So instead of making six additional presentations for open house, I had to make 8 additional presentation. Frustrating.

I had one lady ask me about whether it is the student's responsibility to come to me if he/she is struggling. I responded in the affirmative, but that question has been haunting me ever since. What would be the alternative? I simply can't imagine a feasible other option.

My plan to deter the impromptu parent conference was a failure. The ones that wanted to have a chat about their specific kid just stayed after the original presentation and asked me. They want to know things like "What is his/her grade at present?" (which is available on the web in real time at their convenience), or "What are your tutoring time?" (clearly discussed in my presentation for them during the class period) or "Susie has practice after school on day x and day y and her brother has practice on day z, so she can't stay after on any of those days. She has practice every morning too. Do you have any *other* tutoring times?" Say WHAT??? This one, I hear every year and it never ceases to amaze me. I offer EIGHT tutoring times per week, and these people don't think that's enough because it doesn't fit neatly into their athletic schedules. Did it ever occur to them to hire a private tutor? Isn't that what you should do if you *can't* make it to any of the FREE tutoring times?

On the brighter side, most of the parents that came did not try to put me on the defensive but offered support for anything that I might need to help their children succeed. I also had several of my students from last year come by with their parents because the kid wanted mom to meet "My favorite math teacher ever." That felt really good!

One of my current students (also a student of mine two years prior) said his mom thought I was the best math teacher too. Wow.


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