Courtesy of Austin Vinner
With the turnout at last month’s Parent Observation Day being low, the purpose of this event comes into question. On the outside, Parent Observation Day seems like a great idea that allows parents to have a larger role in their child’s education, but it can also have some negative effects that might not be obvious at first glance.
From the student’s point of view, having parents in classes can be extremely embarrassing since not everyone’s parents show up. Some students also may not be able to focus or may try to impress their parents. This can lead to students not actually learning during their classes, which defeats the whole purpose of school.
During Parent Observation Day, teachers try to be on their best behavior, and the pressure of trying to prove that they’re worthy of teaching can get to their head. This can also lead to teachers not teaching to the best of their ability and, in turn, cause the parents to get a bad impression of the teachers, curriculum or school overall.
Some people may think that giving parents a chance to be involved in their child’s education might outweigh a few negative impacts, but at WCHS, barely any parents actually observe on Parent Observation Day.
The low attendance at this event is in part due to student’s pleas to their parents to not come. If all these parents are ignoring this opportunity, why put students and teachers through the misery of having an entire day with a few parents quietly sitting in the back of the classroom.
Having only a few parents at Parent Observation Day makes this event unnecessary and should be done away with unless more parents decide to show up. It’s just uncomfortable to have only a few sparse parents wandering the halls. The parents, in most cases, don’t even know where to go.
This also puts stress on staff since they have to direct parents around the school to their individual student’s classrooms. Although students are given a second set of their schedule specifically for Parent Observation Day, it rarely makes its way to the parents.
According to a 2018 Washington Post article teachers feel uncomfortable when parents spend 45 minutes in the back of their classroom watching and taking notes on them; it can be degrading.
Even if more parents go to Observation Day, the teachers still teaching the class doesn’t give a chance for the parents to make any personal connection with the teachers. What does allow for this connection is Back to School Night. This is a much better opportunity to meet the teachers and see what they’re like on a more personal level.
Teachers may still be stressed and nervous about meeting the parents of their students but having a one-on-one interaction is beneficial for the students, teachers and parents alike. When thinking about Parent Observation day as just another, worse version of Back to School Night, it’s no surprise that the turnout is so low.
Since there is all this negative stigma about Parent Observation Day, it is more trouble than it’s worth. Not having it will improve the educational experience of students and teachers alike.