I love Back to School Night!
Historically, I don't get many parents except in the higher level courses where parents overall are more involved. This year, I expected even fewer since my students are juniors and seniors. I ended up with, on average, 2 families per class, weighted heavily towards Honors Physics.
The parents who did come were fantastic! They asked great questions and were very supportive of my educational philosophies. In the Physics class, there was lots of smiling and nodding as I talked about how I want them to be interested and well-rounded people.
At the end of the night, the bell rang and they stayed put. They sat and asked questions, looking pleased the whole time. Afterwards, several stayed to talk to me about how much their kids enjoy coming to my class.
On top of that, I had several former students and their parents come to visit me. There is nothing that warms your heart more than knowing that you made an impact on students.
I am having an excellent year. It's not perfect by any means, but it's better than I could have hoped for.
I recognize that this is not the case for many of my coworkers. Many of them are struggling with all of the changes. The classes are larger than we were used to, the schedule is different, the halls have MANY more kids. Many of my colleagues aren't comfortable with their classes or schedules. Working where I work (or anywhere) isn't easy. It is, however, easy to get swept up in the problems.
I have managed to keep myself away from the negative influences as much as possible. I do my best not to complain about anything, partially because I know it won't help, but mostly because I know that I have it pretty great this year. I'm happy with my schedule, I like my classes and I enjoy my students.
I worry that my joy will be seen as gloating. I make myself available for those who wish to talk because I know how important it is to model. I don't want to be THAT guy.
So I will continue to enjoy my year, continue to try to cheer and support my students and coworkers on and continue to respect the struggle that many people are having.