Dear parents of my new students who I will be supremely sick of by Columbus Day weekend:
Welcome to my classroom! I am the monarch of all I survey!
I’m not at all looking forward to seeing any of you given that eight weeks of summer vacation is hardly enough time to deprogram myself from thirty-seven weeks of the previous year’s oppressively earnest parents and “genius” children, but if I don’t show up to work I get fired, so here we are. Here. We. Are.
First things first, we’ll be hosting an Open House prior to the first day of school. Like, way prior. Since schools no longer believe in letting summer vacation extend through Labor Day weekend—because why would anything that makes sense happen in a public school system?—the first day of school will be August 15th. Our Open House will be July 21st. We arrange it this way because we like to ruin a little bit of your summer the same way you ruin a whole lot of our school year. Do you see what’s happening here? Can you feel the power struggle? FEEL IT. Taste it. You’re soaking in it. It’s real.
What you can expect at our Open House:
- It will be approximately 78 degrees and sunny with a zero percent chance of rain. In other words, it’ll be a perfect beach day. As such, we’ll schedule this for 11:00-3:30 to obliterate any chance you might have had of “making the most” of “this gorgeous day.”
- Fun fact: Our school does not have air conditioning!
- Attendance is mandatory. If your child doesn’t attend the Open House in the middle of the summer on a Wednesday at midday then I will have no choice but to seat him or her at the front of the classroom with his or her mortal enemy on the first day. Don’t try me.
- The critical portions of our Open House should theoretically take only 30 minutes total, but we’ll spread them out at half-hour intervals, making it impossible for you to leave. Also: We’ll save the thing that your child wants to do the most and definitely, definitely doesn’t want to leave without doing, for absolute last. That’ll be 3:30, possibly 4:30, if things run late. Maybe you should have a pizza delivered? I like pepperoni.
- Just for kicks, you’ll need to fill out seven different forms while you’re here. Yes, the same forms you filled out last year. No, we don’t care if there haven’t been any changes to your information. Yes, these are forms that, in any other organization post-1998, would’ve been automated by now. Yes, we do need them now. No, you may not take them home to complete them.
What you can expect on the first day of school:
- Let’s just get this out of the way now—the first two hours are an utter shit show. We’ve given up trying to do anything about it. I mean, when you combine 350 children under the age of 11, sixty-five staff members who’ve been dreading this day since June, and parents who’ve been tossing back Xanax like popcorn while hauling around $3000 worth of photographic equipment, things are gonna get fugly.
- Do not in any way prepare your children for this shit show. They will get anxious in anticipation of the shit show.
- You will then get anxious in anticipation of their anxiety over the shit show.
- The shit show does not care how anxious any of you are. The shit show does what it wants.
- We suggest Baileys in your coffee. Just do it. No one needs to know.
- What do you think we do?
- WWMCTD? (What Would My Child’s Teacher Do?)
- She would put Baileys in her coffee. That’s what.
What your child should expect on the first day of school:
- A shit show. (See above.)
- Oh man, here comes the good stuff. I will send a list of REQUIRED school supplies to you about 48 hours before the first day of school. This accomplishes two things: (1) It lets you know early on that I am incredibly unpredictable while also wielding a surprising amount of power, and (2) really just that first one.
- No, your child may not bring in old supplies from last year. I have my reasons (see above).
How you can help:
Parents often ask me, “How can I help?” If you actually mean it, here are some ideas:
- Volunteer to help with one of our class fundraisers! They happen every other week until the end of time. We always need volunteers and we have approximately 43 parents minus 20 dads leaving roughly 23 moms to do all the work. So do the math. Or can you not understand math now because of Common Core? Waaaaaaaaah. (For reference, I have my fists up at the outer corners of my eyes, curling them in and out, making the internationally recognized sign of The Crybaby.)
- Don’t point out the typos and/or grammatical errors in my weekly newsletter. I know this is asking an almost unfathomable amount of self-control from you geniuses out there. Maybe if I didn’t spend 97% of my time teaching to the test and fielding micromanaging phone calls from parents I might have a little more time to proofread? Just a thought! 😉
- Leave me alone.
- Leave the principal alone.
- Leave the secretaries alone.
- Leave your kid alone.
- Just worry about yourself. Seriously.
I hear you’re an expert!
Many parents like to come across as experts in our parent-teacher conferences. It must be so exciting to be an expert! Did you know I’m an expert too? I’m an expert at going to my emotionally dead place in order to get through the day. Smiles!
Lastly, the success of any school year rests on five key factors:
- The school
- The teacher
- The child
- The parents
- My level of self-medication
I’m “mostly” in control of the first two and that last one. That third and fourth one are up to you. Don’t fuck it up!
Let’s have a great year!
Illustration by Andrew Lakata