A strange thing happened during the 2020 school year: in a year in which high-school classes went virtual and the face of school changed more than any time in the past century, attendance at my Back-to-School-Night meeting was at an all-time low. Prior to 2020, parents attended Back to School Night in huge numbers at the suburban high school where I teach, moving from classroom to classroom to meet their children’s teachers and get a sense of class expectations. Many parents report back that it is “nice to match a face to the stories.” So why is it that, in the midst of a global pandemic, when school systems underwent a major overhaul, classes moved online, and Back to School Night was held via Google Meet (meaning no commute or challenges to find parking), parent attendance was at an all-time low?
In the 2020-21 school year, teachers were encouraged to maintain accurate online records, to distribute materials regularly, and to maintain clear lines of communication. Simultaneously, many parents found themselves working from home, sometimes even sitting in the same room as their children as they worked. The upside of this challenge is that many parents were offered a daily glimpse into their child’s world, oftentimes hearing lessons directly from the teacher and having their inbox filled with assignment updates, grade reports, and announcements.
As students return to in-person classes this school year, teachers are returning to in-person instruction as well, and a drawback of that is that the line of communication between teacher and parents has been interrupted. In the months ahead, materials may not be consistently provided electronically, announcements may only be shared with students, and it might not be as easy to see your child struggling academically because they will no longer be in class in the same room as you. Throughout this, students will be facing a number of social, emotional, and academic challenges as they try to adapt to the ups and downs of in-person instruction.
As a parent, maintaining the line of communication with your children’s teachers is just as critical as monitoring your child’s progress and performance. The relationship between parent and teacher is a vital partnership in the growth of the child. Let your child’s teacher know of any major changes or concerns in your child’s life, and ask questions early and often.
If you or your child’s teachers notice any changes in behavior, attitude, enthusiasm, or achievement, please know that at Bridgewater, we are here to help!