Stop Inviting Me to My Child’s School

Kim Brown Reiner

My first-grade son attends a fabulous New York City public school where parents are invited to attend morning meeting with their child. Every morning.

Last year, after a few weeks of watching five year olds try to greet their neighbor with the proper name and answer mind-blowing questions like what they did over the weekend, I was more than ready to drop off my child and run. But when I tried, he erupted into a tantrum.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Everyone else is still here.”

To a kindergartener, six or seven parents may as well have been every single person in the world. How could I leave if they stayed?

Eventually, I did. I had to. My boss’s understanding about the importance of a morning meeting that wasn’t her own only stretched so far.

But I didn’t feel good about letting go, especially when some moms attended every single meeting the entire year.

Now that my son’s in first grade and my third grade daughter attends another school, I’m ready for the invitations to stop. Their teachers are fabulous. I know for sure because neither of them has choked a single parent, not even the mom who comes late every day and loudly disrupts 27 children with questions about her own daughter.

My children are reading and learning math. They come home happy and aren’t too upset when Monday morning comes around. As far as I’m concerned, we’re good. Really.

It’s not that I don’t care what’s happening in my children’s lives; it’s just that I trust the teachers to do their jobs while I do mine.

I don’t need to check up on them, anymore than I need them to come to my home or office.

It’s only November and so far this year I’ve been invited to parent-teacher conferences, two curriculum nights, open school week, math strategies, instrument practice and behavior modifications workshops, four trips, a walk to a garden, an African dance performance, lunch with my child, share-your-culture day, two book publishing parties, a Halloween party and magic show, not to mention numerous PTA meetings and volunteer opportunities.

I trust the teachers are doing their jobs even if they’re not doing all of these things and transforming the classroom into an ocean, which my son’s teacher did last year.

I remember the look on a child’s face when no one from her family came to see the fish she hung from the light fixture, and that’s why I still show up. Counting nursery school, we’re in year seven and my husband or I continue to attend every single class event.

He’s a stay-at-home dad, so we’re fortunate, or at least my children are. This year alone he’s chaperoned six class trips.

I get it. Children do better when parents are involved in their lives. And bureaucrats are putting pressure on educators to welcome parents into their schools. In fact, a NYC public school survey asks parents how many times they’ve been invited to their child’s school and how welcome they feel on a scale of 1 to 4.




This post was written by Kim Brown Reiner exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Kim Brown Reiner is a mom to Tessa, 8, and James, 6, an education consultant and a freelance writer.