Sunday, September 20, 2015

What I did for Back to School Night #30

We started the school year (with students) on August 13th this year. That's a record early start date. Who remembers when school didn't begin until after Labor Day. Such places still exist. Just not where I teach.

Our Back-to-School Night was September 9th. For the past many years, I eschewed any discussion of policies for the 10-minute talk to parents. Instead, I presented a shortened version of the presentation I give in my Physics, AP Physics 1, and AP Physics 2 courses: "Physics Begins With an M". It's good stuff. And it would often generate at least one spontaneous round of applause at the 10-minute mark.

This time around, I spoke to the parents about the content of the course, how grades are determined, and the importance of engagement. The talk was not devoid of humor, but it was certainly heavier than my previous presentation.

I also upped the page-count of the handout I give to parents at the session. The hope is that the handout I distribute to parents who come in tells them everything they could want to know. That takes the pressure off the 10-minute session we have together. That said, I never open the floor to parent questions. Time is short, and that tactic has a great potential for failure.

Here's the handout I provide.

Back to School Night Parent Information

I also give them this:

How Not to Get Stuck on Physics Homework / How to Succeed in Physics.

And yes, my very first Back to School Night was in September of 1986. Ronald Reagan was President and California Governor George Deukmejian had a daughter at my school. He was at that Back to School Night, too. So this edition of BTSN was my 30th.

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