Best Tips From Back-To-School Night

Back-to-School night in our district is strictly for parents to meet their child's teachers and see the classrooms they'll be spending two thirds of their high-school time in.  It's the first opportunity of the school year for parents to hear from the proverbial horse's mouth what the expectations are for each teacher's class and how the class will go down.


Since this is our daughter's junior year, this opportunity was especially important. It's the most dreaded year for students, and their families, planning to go on to college after graduation — which in this day and age means almost everyone in our small high school of less than 1,000 students.

Over the years of attending BTS night, we've learned to raise our antennas and listen for those precious bits of information teachers will offer up as advise for their students to have a chance of succeeding in their particular class.

Here are five tips I picked up at BTS night and think are worth sharing with you:

1. No late work accepted for unexcused absences — Sort of. If you communicate with your child's teacher about the reason for the late work, or as one of our child's AP course teachers suggested, send in a note explaining the reason for the absence, some teachers will try to accommodate.

2. No makeup tests even for excused absences — Our math department is notorious for this. However, a few of our child's teachers suggested communication with them would be the place to start instead of accepting a '0' especially if the child was sick or there was a family emergency.

3. Check in with a teacher often — “I like to see kids who care about their grade in my class,” one AP teacher advised. Talking with a teacher about participation points can turn a 'B' into 'B' + after a short chat.

4. Visit teachers for questions during lunch or after school — Seek them out for any doubts or even clarification. Take advantage of lunchtime or after-school tutoring regularly.

5. My child has too much homework — “If you think your child has too much homework, tell the teacher.” This advise was offered by our school's vice-principal, and is perhaps one of the most valuable pieces of advice I've heard in years. All too often teachers give out homework and don't realize how long it takes.

Our district is in the middle of homework revision; a committee is assessing how homework loads of late are overburdening kids with busy work instead of work to reinforce the days lessons.

Did you attend your child's back to school night? What advice did you take away from attending?

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