93 Real-Life Thoughts I Had During Back-to-School Night

Here’s the thing: I really don’t mind Back-to-School Night conceptually. I love my students and genuinely enjoy getting to know their parents and families. But even as a relatively extroverted person, meeting the parents and/or siblings of 100+ kids all […]

Here’s the thing: I really don’t mind Back-to-School Night conceptually. I love my students and genuinely enjoy getting to know their parents and families. But even as a relatively extroverted person, meeting the parents and/or siblings of 100+ kids all at the same time makes me feel … well, it makes me feel sweaty, to be honest. And dysfunctional. And a little subhuman.

I’ve attempted below to trace my thoughts on a typical Back-to-School Night to give you an inside look at what exactly goes on in my brain:

  • Oh, no. Here it comes.
  • Why am I nervous?
  • This will be just like talking to a bunch of eighth graders.
  • Except older.
  • And wiser.
  • And judgier.
  • I feel sweaty.
  • And hungry.
  • This is your sixth Back-to-School Night and you still can’t remember to eat beforehand?
  • How much time do I have until they get here?
  • FIFTEEN MINUTES?! I THOUGHT I HAD AT LEAST AN HOUR!
  • Better check the desks for graffiti.
  • Wow. “SWAGG” spelled out in ninja swords. That’s a first. Glad I checked.
  • At least it’s in pencil.
  • Dear Back-to-School Night gods, please have the parents move classes when the bells ring and not when they feel like it and come in during the middle of my presentation and ask questions that were addressed in the first half. Amen.
  • DAHHHHH FIVE MINUTES. MOMMY.
  • OK. Chill out. This will be fine.
  • You’re an adult.
  • They’re adults.
  • Deep breaths.
  • I hope nobody steals my pen for the sign-in sheet.
  • Never mind, you’re clearly not an adult. GROW UP, SELF!
  • Also, you almost always accidentally walk off with the front office ladies’ pens. Hypocrite.
  • I hope they don’t ask me mean questions disguised as nice ones, like, “Will you ever update your teacher website? I’ve been checking it for the past 24 hours now,” or “Do you stick to the school’s policy of English testing days on Wednesday and Friday, or do you give tests whenever you feel like it?”
  • I also hope they don’t ask me mean questions not disguised at all, like, “How could anyone let you be a teacher?” or “Why is your head shaped like that?”
  • I also hope they don’t ask me nice questions that I don’t know the answer to.
  • I also hope I can stop hoping things that end in a preposition.
  • NOOOOO! THE BELL! I’M NOT READY!
  • Hello, first parent. Did you enjoy my sweaty handshake?
  • Hello, parent who looks EXACTLY like child.
  • Oh, the desks are filling up. Me no likey.
  • GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF.
  • Is it time to start talking yet?
  • How long are we giving the parents to get to class?
  • I have an idea: Pretend to be checking to see if the PowerPoint is working. Fiddle with the projector remote. Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle.
  • Ah, the late bell! Time to start talking.
  • Don’t mess up your Back-to-School Night talk.
  • Don’t mess up your Back-to-School Night talk.
  • Don’t mess up your Back-to-School Night talk.
  • Don’t mess up your Back-to-School Night talk.
  • Don’t mess up your Back-to-School Night talk.
  • OK, question-and-answer time. You can handle any question ever. Even mean ones. After all, you do that every day from eighth graders.
  • NO QUESTIONS?!
  • But—I budgeted a whole 7.5 minutes for questions!
  • THIS IS THE END.
  • Oh, thank goodness. A nice question I can answer.
  • Yay! Another nice, answerable question. Look at you, self! So knowledgeable, cool and collected.
  • “Why don’t I give more homework”? What?
  • Uhhhhhhhh …
  • UHHHHHHH …
  • OK, just start talking. Say something.
  • I have no idea what I’m saying. I think it may be words. I hope it’s in English, at least.
  • Oh, thank goodness. Saved by the bell.
  • And I have sweated through my shirt. Neato.
  • Is it “sweat” in past tense or “sweated”?
  • Do I have enough time before the next set of parents to stuff Kleenex in my armpits?
  • Round two of parents. Lord, give me normalcy.
  • Oh, good! That parent is inspecting the wall of student work I meticulously selected based on absolute perfection.
  • Also, I’m hungry.
  • Sorry in advance for all these clammy handshakes, parents.
  • Why do I have “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight” stuck in my head?
  • I JUST DIED IN YOUR ARMS TONIGHT.
  • OK, time to start.
  • Don’t mess up your Back-to-School Night talk.
  • I JUST DIED IN YOUR ARMS TONIGHT.
  • Don’t mess up your Back-to-School Night talk.
  • MUST HAVE BEEN SOMETHING YOU SAID.
  • Don’t mess up your Back-to-School Night talk.
  • I JUST DIED IN YOUR ARMS TONIGHT.
  • Don’t mess up your Back-to-School Night talk.
  • WHOOOOOOOAH, WHOOOOOAAAH.
  • Alright! Last round of Back-to-School Night!
  • Dang. Just as I’m getting the hang of this thing.
  • I’m not even sweaty anymore!
  • Hello, nice to meet you, I am your child’s normal, personable, non-anxious teacher.
  • I bet they’re all thinking, “Wow! She really has her act together.”
  • Or maybe, “She looks like she has her act together, but also she looks like she was sweating profusely earlier this evening.”
  • Q&A is such a breeze!
  • Hello, announcement from principal that Back-to-School Night is over!
  • Bye, parents!
  • Oh, just kidding: Hello parents who apparently want to stay and watch me die of hunger.
  • GROW UP, SELF!
  • I am so hungry I am literally about to start gnawing on my leg like a coyote.
  • Not literally.
  • But that would be awesome if I did.
  • My face hurts from smiling.
  • Goodbye, last parent!
  • Can I leave now?
  • Let’s go in the hall and ask every colleague I can find if I can leave now.
  • Why yes, it’s time to leave. It’s also Giant, Bad-Decision-Burger o’Clock!!
  • Peace out, Back-to-School Night.
  • It’s been real. …
  • Sweaty.

What goes on in your mind during Back-to-School Night? 

Also, I may have counted wrong. I blame early-onset DEVOLSON.

Love, Teach teaches English at a Title I middle school and writes about it at loveteachblog.com. In addition to teaching, she enjoys most types of shellfish, the ending to The Giver (even though you probably don’t) and when her mom offers to fold her laundry.

Posted by Love Teach

Love, Teach teaches English at the middle school level and writes about it occasionally at loveteachblog.com but mostly on Facebook. She is a big fan of her dog, school supplies, and weather that is under a million degrees.

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