WHAT IS SCHOOL OPEN DAY?
School open days usually comes up at the middle and end of term respectively in a school’s calendar. A school Open day is organized in order for parents and guardians to have a peek into the academic, behavioral and social world of their children and wards. It also serves as a very good medium, for prospective parents and pupils to choose a suitable school from the numerous schools available. A typical Open day spans for a few hours(6 hours maximum) if properly harnessed. It can give very clear hints about the general running of a school and also tell of the calibre of teachers that work there,as well as the quality and breadth of learning. Most importantly, it indirectly tells of the culture and values that are made available to the pupils/students.
From several years of experience as a teacher, I have discovered that most parents readily delegate the attendance of school Open days to third parties.They are usually House helps ( who are mere children in some cases), siblings and even their neighbors. Occasionally several ‘working class parents’ would plead with a “stay at home mom”, whose child attends the same school as theirs to play parent for their own children at school open days, this beats the imagination! Now imagine a mother who has scarcely overseen the affairs of her own child(ren), would have time to start scrutinizing that of five or six other children of neighbors.
Overtime, this has degenerated to simply getting somebody to sign the Parents’ attendance registers at the school’s open day. A friend and colleague, once shared with me the happenings at an Open day program in the school where she was teaching . A gangly teenager came to stand in for his parents, on behalf of his two younger siblings. She watched him as he greeted her shyly and flipped uncertainly through the books of his siblings. He then signed the attendance register in a flourish, and got up to leave . At that point, she engaged him in a discussion and in no time, this child began to tell her about certain challenges that he was facing at school too. Sadly his parents didn’t seem to be available to help sort things out for him as a student too. The same child that had been designated to do his parents’ job, was actually in critical need of parenting ; a classical case of baby nursing baby!
Some of these “busy” parents send monetary gifts to the teachers via their wards,thereby soliciting for empathy, and staying in the good books of the teachers, but to the detriment of the child. It is worthy of note that showing appreciation to your child’s teacher is a very noble gesture and should be encouraged. However, it must never be done to justify your failure to fulfil your God given duties as a parent.
4 REASONS YOU HAVE TO BE AT YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL OPEN DAY.
1 .YOU GET TO MONITOR YOUR CHILD’S ACADEMIC PROGRESS: Your child, and not your work, should be your top priority as a parent (Can I get an Amen to that?).Why bring children into this world when you’re not ready to take care of them?. Education is the best legacy, which you can ever leave for your child,and not just education, but top quality one at that. It follows that your child’s school affairs should never be handled with levity, neither should they be delegated to outsiders. Your presence and full participation at your child’s open day is vital to appreciating his/her academic strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps there are areas that require extra professional intervention such as the services of a home tutor or even counselling fighting dyscalculia (mathematics disorder).That said, children’s academics performance should be followed up regularly, irrespective of an open day
2.YOU GET TO MEET YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER: It is so sad that many parents do not have a cordial relationship with their children’s teacher. Some might not recognize them outside the walls of the school. Believe it or not, some parents have never even met their children’s teacher! Perhaps they await the day of graduation or Valedictory service to get to finally meet them. Parent/Teacher bonding is fundamental to the well being of every child in school. Hence there’s a saying that, “if you do not like a teacher, you would struggle to do well in his/her subject”. There have been cases of some unprofessional teachers, who always exhibit deep seated resentment for certain pupils, for reasons best known to them. Obviously such a child would not get the full benefits expected from such a teacher. Moreover if not identified and handled on time, the situation could possibly degenerate to abuse, rebellion, forced introversion, inferiority complex, aversion for school, truancy …the list is endless.
There is an intuitive ability that is peculiar to parents, which is especially brought to the fore when their children are involved. No matter how well polished and powdered every member of staff is at the open day, a discerning and observant parent would surely pick up a vibe or two. As to whom the child connects with readily, as well as who the child barely tolerates, or is even afraid of. It is as simple as a matter of understanding, your child’s everyday body language. So when next you go for that open day program, don’t be in a hurry to dust your pants and take off. Rather, take your time, relax and observe how your child interacts with everyone else.
3.YOU GET TO GIVE YOUR CHILD A SENSE OF BELONGING: Your presence and participation at the open day has a positive psychological effect on your child. For schools that observe open days during school hours, the children are usually seated,waiting patiently and nervously for “Mommy and Daddy” to show up. It is always a secretly refreshing view for a teacher, when at the sight of their parent ,the child leaps with so much joy and excitement. One begins to wonder whether they do not live in the same house, or have not seen themselves in ages. The child thus feels loved with an accompanied sense of belonging and pride. This stems from the reasoning that, someone special came to share a special event with him/ her, and that is how good memories are formed. You would even hear such a child “showing off” their parents to you like an exquisite work of art: “That is my Mommy and Daddy “with so much pride.
Conversely, the other kids whose parents failed to show up at the school’s open day, usually feel let down and unimportant. I have witnessed a scenario as a teacher where a child burst into tears at the end of the open day, because her parents were absent. She had kept on reassuring her mates (and herself) that at least, either of her parents would surface but alas!, neither of them came. I had to comfort the little girl and try to explain to her that perhaps Mommy and Daddy had a really genuine reason for not showing up. The ones to be particularly wary of, are the children who act tough and unconcerned. They feign indifference and try to bottle up their disappointment at not been considered “worth the trouble” by their parents. However, a sensitive teacher would always see beyond this façade; the vulnerability, hurt, shame or even confusion in their eyes.
4.YOU GET TO MEET YOUR CHILD’S FRIENDS: Like the adage goes “show me your friend, and I will tell you who you are “. Meeting your child’s friends will give you an insight into who your child is fast becoming. If left unguided in their choice of friends at a tender age, there is a strong tendency for mixing with the wrong crowd. They will yield to negative peer pressure, imbibing the wrong set of values and even leading double lives. (A dove at home, but a dragon amongst friends!). An example is the recent horrific incident that occurred in Florida. Where 17 high school students, were killed by a fellow student who had previously been expelled from the school. https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/23/us/florida-school-shooting/index.html Seventeen innocent souls were lost because of a single unstable kid! I believe there must have been a disconnect somewhere, between the child and his parents. Who knows, maybe he was a seemingly harmless child at home, but the exact opposite in school. Perhaps there must have been telltale signs of an unhealthy association in school, which were missed by the parents, until he eventually got expelled. Maybe if the parents had zoned in on his friends early,it would have been a different story, or even recommended him for counselling, the tragedy might have been avoided.
Some parents are ready to pay thousands of naira for a CHILD\’S education and send them to the best schools. However, they do not make the extra effort to find out how that child fares in school. The typical excuses that come to play, are often work related.
In a typical case of setting the cart before the horse, several parents invest all of their time and attention in countless business trips and never-ending meetings at work, with the ultimate plan of leaving a comfortable legacy or business empire for their children to inherit.
It would be wise to dedicate a good deal of that time and attention to the welfare of the child so that he/she would grow up to be a responsible and worthy custodian of such legacies.
DO’s WHEN PREPARING FOR AN OPEN DAY
Do have a long chat with your child or ward, prior to the set day, in order to streamline your expectations ahead of time
Do request for the child’s curriculum and skim through before the day.
Do go along with a camera or smartphone; you might need to take pictures of your child’s displayed work to show your spouse and for reference purposes
Do write down questions on areas that you wish to discuss with your child’s teacher, instead of making mental notes,. There is a possibility that you might be overwhelmed and forget some vital questions you wanted to ask when you get to the school.
Do get to the venue early, so as to get the full attention of the teacher for sufficient interaction
DON’Ts WHEN PREPARING FOR AN OPEN DAY
1. DON’T COMPARE YOUR CHILD WITH OTHER CHILDREN: Like the adage goes,”there is a star in every child”. Peradventure you find out that your child’s performance is below that of his/ her classmates on the progress chart, it is natural to feel bad but the solution is not to start comparing your child with others. This might degenerate to scolding the child publicly, thereby embarrassing the child and eating into their self confidence. The way forward would be to encourage such a child, try to identify the root cause of their problem and come up with countermeasures. Dysgraphia in children
2.DON’T HARASS/FIGHT YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER: some parents would go as far as insulting or physically assaulting a teacher. If their children do not meet up to their expectations academically. Or even if they get a complaint from their children about having been disciplined by their teacher.
3.DON’T OVER STAY YOUR WELCOME: remember that other parents are waiting to see the same teacher too, so it is advisable not to stay too long. However, if there are issues that require extra thrashing out, you could always reschedule a meeting with your child’s teacher.
4.DON’T TRY TO BRIBE YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER : Appreciation is necessary at open days ,but should never be confused with bribery. Some parents bring gifts to bribe their children’s teacher, in other for their marks to be inflated or for favoritism. Instead of lobbying for your children, help them earn that grade and respect, through hardwork and diligence.
Finally, remember that a school open day, is just a single day when the school opens it doors to parents to have a peek of what is going on in their children or ward’s life at school. But the good news is that, as a parent, you have a daily access to the “door” of your child’s life: so make the best use of this opportunity to help your child build a healthy, beautiful and wholesome live and relationships.
DO YOU HAVE ANY CONTRIBUTIONS OR SUGGESTION?”PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW.