Last Friday was Observation Day at l where parents, guardians and / or grandparents are invited to be a fly-on-the-wall and watch their child's classroom in action.
It's not a scheduled one-on-one teacher conference where you hear the good, or maybe not so good, tidbits about your child's academic progress. No, this day, always in November, is district-wide throughout all the Syosset elementary schools and is specifically geared towards watching the classroom in full swing.
Observation Day gives a chance to touch and feel what your child does all day long when they're away from you.
With so many kids in our family, I'm a stickler for trying to equally parent all three by really listening to them and pay attention to their needs; doesn't always work, but I try.
That means making sure I carve out time, no matter what's going on, to be present in their lives. Even when they hit milestone moments spread almost four years apart and my own work life has gotten busier than ever. I try to keep the same pace in really knowing my children. Try.
"You came to his winter concert," We hear.
"Not fair, I didn't get an email address till I was 11. She has to wait, too."
My husband, Tom, works at home and I freelance write at home as well as on the premises of some of my clients. This year, we were able to switch and split our time equally amongst two classrooms.
I'm a frustrated teacher at heart and enjoy the ins and outs of how a classroom functions, cutting through boundless kid energy to actually reach and teach facts. It also connects the dots to see taxpayers' dollars at work providing necessities like computer terminals, foreign language skills and new dry erase boards replacing dusty chalky blackboards.
Kelly's fifth grade class played Latin "Jeopardy," as we parents were impressed with the children's Latin history and Roman Gods' knowledge.
"Who brought fire to the mortal humans?"
An enthusiastic group at table number four collaborated and answered.
Melanie's third grade class got outside and kicked the soccer ball around for some physical education and later read Scholastic magazine aloud, highlighting key vocabulary words.
One observation day I'll never forget. A few years ago, all of our children each spaced two school years apart from one another were all in one school (won't happen again). Our kids were excited to say the least.
"Mommy, come see my new chair at the orange table," said Melanie.
"Mommy, come to Project Beyond and see our experiment," said Robert.
"Mommy, come to science and mush clay with us," said Kelly.
"Help," said mommy!
That year was one of the rare days where Tom couldn't help me out visiting the school. Tag, I was it.
After sitting cross-legged on the carpet in Melanie's first grade class to chart the weather; blowing bubbles with Robert to determine if the most expensive soap was indeed the most effective, I was thirsty, tired and my sciatica was beginning to act up. I finally found Kelly's classroom.
The children were adorable, visibly excited that parents were there and played up to us like actors mugging for a camera, any camera. Parents stood awkwardly behind each child as the students paired off to do a synonym matching game. I chatted with a father in Friday casual dress clothes who looked like he just escaped from work to partake in his daughter "Ann's" class. (Not her real name. wink!)
Ann, Kelly's partner, selected two words: odor and smell. With innocent big brown eyes she looked up at her father, turned to me and said, "Daddy makes a smell when he passes gas and doesn't say excuse me."
His face turned bright red. I didn't know where to look. It took every ounce of my energy not to burst out laughing and disrupt the class.
How observant, Observation Day was!