Parents Arrive at Milton for the Weekend
by Ariela Buxbaum-Grice on Friday, October 25th, 2013This weekend, Milton Academy’s campus will be bustling as usual with students and faculty, but there will also be some unfamiliar faces– parents. During this annual event, the school invites parents onto campus, giving kids a chance to show their parents a day in the life of a Milton student.
For most parents, this event will be the only time to see what really happens in their children’s classrooms. The question of, “How was school today?” that is shared among families often heeds an unenthusiastic and non-descriptive response. The opportunity to see how Milton truly operates will give parents a better sense of the school dynamic, both in and out of the classroom.
John Banderob, who works in the mathematics department and is a dorm head of Robbins House, believes that Parents’ Weekend is important to help parents understand how rigorous Milton can be. “Parents get to make more real what their kids are telling them about school and about classes,” said Mr. Banderob. “Parents realize how exhausting a day here is … and that’s a good thing for them to understand.” Some students have even admitted to having their parents carry around their books for them to understand the physical load they have to lug around campus every day.
Another pertinent component of this day is the interactions between teachers and parents. “In my four years here, I’ve rarely signed my parents up for a meeting with my teachers,” said Michael Davis (I). While the prospect of parent-teacher meetings is not inherently thrilling for students like Michael, some teachers and parents appreciate these conferences as a brief opportunity to meet up directly and discuss students in person. “It’s good for [parents] to make a contact with the teacher even if it’s not a specific appointment,” said Mr. Banderob. “They have a name and a face to put together and if you need to have a conversation about something, there’s already that contact.”
Parents of both day students and boarding students will gather to share this day with their children. Day student, Shaheen Bharwani (II) said that, in his perspective, the purpose of Parents’ Day is to, “give parents insight as to the way classes work at Milton.” Shaheen’s parents have attended Parents’ Day through his three years Milton. On the other hand, Giselle Prado (II) a boarder in Hathaway House, said that, “parents need to have some kind of connection to their kid’s life at school—especially if their child is a boarder. Parents’ day makes it possible for parents to really live a few hours in our lives.”
The structure of Parents’ Day is roughly the same each year; however, students have different classes and new teachers every time, giving students a new experience to share with their visitors. Nate Lundie (I) said, “when I was in my freshman year, [parents’ day] was just parents observing our classes. Now they participate.” Helena Thatcher (I), who attended Milton Academy as a middle school student, has been through many Milton Academy Parents’ Days. “Now that I am an upperclassman, my parents find Parents’ Day more engaging than they did when I was in the lower school.”
Although many students agree that the ordeal of a typical Milton Day is reflected during the Friday of Parents Weekend, some believe that this day does not accurately depict a day of classes at Milton. “It’s hard to sit around a Harkness table and not worry about what your parents think about the things you contribute to a class discussion,” said Chad Malinowski (I). The added pressure of having parents in a classroom has been known to influence class dynamics in the past.
Even if Parents’ Weekend is taxing on the teachers, students, and the Milton community as a whole, it is always worth providing parents with a weekend of enjoyment. “Parents’ Weekend is my favorite time of the year,” Ron Golub, parent of Shira Golub (I) and Elana Golub (I) said. “I get to be a fly on the wall of the amazing education my kids are getting, not to mention it’s fun!”
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