one of my favorite events at our school is dance night. for the month of february our pe and music teachers co-teach together (this means 4 classes in the gym at one time learning to dance from 4 teachers. these teachers are brave, brave souls). at the end of the month they hold "dance night" at the next door high school gym. our families show up in droves, even those families who avoid our calls and don't come to parent conferences. they dress up in their nicest outfits- some girls show in their puffy princess flower girl dresses, leotards, others in a fancy outfit they put together themselves showing off what their 6 year old fashion sense says is the best outfit they own. the boys come in their khakis, tucked in collard shirts, sweater vests, or traditional clothing from their country. their parents may even put make up on their little girls, spray cologne on the boys, and sit back in pride watching their little one take part in the group dances our music and gym teachers have taught them.
i brought my mother, brother and his girlfriend along this year to check out the fabulous-ness that is my school. my mother, who teaches at a school with a very different population than mine, laughed that it reminded her of the spirit at a football game. the event is by no means a calm, quiet, cultural event. the families sit in the bleachers, laughing and joking with their children. teachers run around, chatting with their students and their parents, encouraging their kiddos to get on the floor to dance with their class, and laughing with their coworkers.
the best part of this event is that it is a place all our parents feel comfortable bringing their children. i'm always amazed at how many parents come to these events when they wont come in our doors at other times. it is a light, happy event. the parents aren't going to be judged for not controlling their children, for not speaking english, for not demonstrating proper knowledge of the schools. then we, as teachers, get to chat with them, laugh together at the children we mutually love, and form bonds we don't get a chance to form the rest of the year.
this morning we were able to start what may have been a contentious parent conference by sharing dance night stories. it started the meeting with laughter and reminded us that everyone at the table truly cared about the best interest of the child we were here to talk about.
i'm always amazed at how much work our pe and music teachers put into this night and how fabulous and well-run it always is.