The Last Back-To-School Night


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Senior year is full of lasts. Tonight is one of the first of the lasts. The very last Back-to-School night. Having a senior, is it really that important to go? Thanks to COVID, I say with strong conviction YES!

The last Back-to-School night I physically attended was when my son was a freshman. Over the last two years, we’ve had virtual or pre-recorded “meets.” (If I recall correctly we had more virtual meets in 2020 than in 2021. I guess by 2021 most teachers were over it [and who can blame them] and made video recordings that could be viewed at any time during the evening.)

This will be the first time I am meeting some teachers that my son has had before. It is the first time I will be able to thank them in person. The first time that I will be able to get to know them and get a feel for what they think of my son. (And would they be a good person to write a letter of recommendation? This is topmost in my mind as we visited yet another college on Saturday that would be a good fit for my son.)

I’m disappointed that COVID took away in-person learning for a good hunk of my son’s high school years. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to meet some of the teachers he had in the past. (Side note, I am especially grateful that his chemistry teacher was also a volunteer ticket taker at the fall play and spring musical of his freshman year, so I sort of knew him before he had him for class the following year. From what I could see [and obviously this was limited due to COVID], he was an excellent teacher. He has moved on to a new position in a different school system, which makes me even more grateful that I had the chance to even briefly get to know him. And I am still amazed that chemistry could be taught without ever really being in a class. How did you science teachers do it?)

Over the past 13 years in our school system (yes, I’m including kindergarten), my son has had many wonderful teachers. Teachers who didn’t just teach, but helped shape my son. Teachers who encouraged and helped build his confidence. Which is why I always felt that it was so important to go to back-to-school night. Even those few minutes allow you to make a connection with one of the people who will be integral in your child’s growth over the year. Even as the parent of a senior, how can I NOT take advantage of this opportunity? And what kind of person would I be if I did NOT take the time to say thank you to each of them?

So tonight, for the last time, I will walk into a school and meet (briefly) with my son’s teachers. I will listen. I will observe. And before I walk out of the classroom door I will say thanks. Where would I be, where would my son be, without these wonderful and dedicated human beings? Certainly not here, ready to move onto the next phase of life.

Thank you to all the teachers who have been in our family’s life. May you have a great school year and may your classes be full this back to school night of parents who appreciate and support your work.

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Beth Shorten
Beth Shorten
Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona from a long line of life-long Verona residents. She chronicles life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog. 


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