Back to School Night has historically been a time when the teachers present as much information about their class
as they can cram into a 15-minute period without having a stroke.
There is typically little time left for questions and answers, much less the opportunity to introduce yourself to the
person who will be spending more time with your child than you for the next nine months.
Even though this is the routine, I still like to try to make a good impression, in the hopes that some of those good
feelings will carry over to my kids when the teachers are grading their first tests.
“Hola!” exclaimed my daughter’s Spanish teacher. “Bienvenido a clase de Español.”
“What did she say?” I whispered to my husband.
“She said, ‘Hello. Welcome to Spanish class,’” he whispered back.
“Oh. That makes sense,” I snorted. Unfortunately the snort happened during a lull in the teacher’s presentation.
I was pretty sure I had just ensured that my daughter would get a C on her first test.
I had to figure out how to make a better first impression. I thought I could go up to her after class and introduce myself as
someone else’s mother.
I decided to tell her my real name and talk about an upcoming trip we were taking to a Spanish-speaking country.
“Hi, I’m Mrs. Beckerman,” I said, thrusting my hand out to shake hers. “I just wanted to let you know how excited my
daughter is to take your class because we are traveling to Costa Rica this December!”
“Oh, that’s wonderful!” exclaimed the Spanish teacher. Ha! I was in!
“I’ve been there several times,” she added. “I know a couple of great places you should visit while you are there!”
“Great!” I said. “Let me write them down.”
I set my can of soda down on her desk and pulled out a piece of paper from my bag. Then I reached across her
desk to grab a pen, and in one seamless gesture, I knocked over her stack of handouts for the parents as well as
my can of soda.
“I’m so ssssorry,” I stammered when I came to my senses. I scooped up the empty soda can and grabbed a box of
tissues off her desk, and started simultaneously mopping up her handouts and patting her shirt dry.
“It’s fine. It’s OK. Really. You should just go to your daughter’s next class,” said the teacher wearily. “By the way,
what did you say your name was?”
“Mrs. Freeman,” I said.