Joco 913

I’m a ‘just-finished’ parent. Will my kids’ schools please give me an exit interview?

Sherry Kuehl
Sherry Kuehl The Kansas City Star

I’m ready for my exit interview.

Not from work mind you or (gasp!) planet Earth, but from my tenure as a parent of a school-age child.

For the first time in 20 years I won’t have a back-to-school night to attend or a first-day-of-school picture to take. And while this might be leaving me a little verklempt, I’m now ready to share my two decades of wisdom with the school district.

I think every parent who has completed their K- to 12th-grade journey should be able to sit down with a school representative and dump their bucket. The amount of knowledge that could be culled from this experience would be, maybe not invaluable, but, at the very least, insightful.

There’s no one more willing to overshare than a parent who has nothing to lose.

When your kids are in school you have to pick your battles very carefully. There are most definitely times when you want to go to war for your child, but if you have multiple children you must consider the after-shocks.

For instance, let’s say your older child’s fourth-grade teacher is phoning it in and you want something done about it. The Catch-22 here is if you raise a huge stink then what about your younger kids?

Will they feel any backlash? Will the other teachers label you the crazy mom and for the next six years, while your child is at that school, will you be persona non-grata in the parent department? Will no teacher want your kids in their class because you’re “one of those moms”?

So now that I’m totally done, I’m yearning to divulge all my inside information and go deep into areas that could be improved.

The schools should consider “just finished” parents an invaluable resource. Although, I realize a lot of what they would hear would be repetitive. Almost every mother would complain about the district’s practice of changing parent online interfaces almost every other year. I used to think this was an egregious practice until it finally dawned on me why they do this.

It’s no coincide that once you finally grasp the school online portal, the district changes providers. The result is that by the time you’re on your third or fourth portal provider, you give up and quit stalking your kids.

You tell yourself that if they’re not turning in homework or making up a test, it’s all on them, which is genius. By constantly changing providers, they’re weaning us from our helicopter parenting.

I floated my exit interview idea to my just-graduated high-schooler and she laughed. In fact, she called me naive and little full of myself.

“The school doesn’t need a bunch of moms telling them how to do their job.”

“But, what if I have information that could help them do their job better?” I bantered back.

“Mom, let it go. You’re done,” she said rather sarcastically. “If you can’t get over the fact that your days as room mom are over, get a job substitute teaching.”

Much to her shock I loved that idea. I told her so and added that I would be a tremendous substitute teacher until she burst my bubble.

“No school is going to hire you.”

“And why not?” I demanded.

“Because they wouldn’t want to live in fear of you writing about your classroom experience.”

Oh, there is that. So, scratch substituting. But I still want that exit interview.

Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.

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