With Middle School Parents' Day on Oct.8, and Upper School Parents' Day on the Oct. 30, teachers remained hard at work while students where at home enjoying their three day weekend.
While Parents Day' usually consists of overcrowding in classrooms, running from class to class, and the excitement of being in one another’s presence, Baylor faculty and families were stripped of this annual tradition due to the ongoing pandemic and replaced it with the ever-present Zoom.
Jan Gautier, a middle school science teacher, and Judy Milliner, an upper school Spanish teacher, recently offered their perspectives on what the day consisted of and what they did to adapt. While the both took the day in stride, they were not afraid to explain the faults and nostalgia of it all.
One of the first abnormalities noticed was the lack of parents in attendance in comparison to normal years with Millener siting around a mere seven families in each class. Guatier said that a noticeable difference for her was the students not being present. "No labs or work for the parents to experience. No feel for the student's long day, walk around campus or how cool it is to be a Baylor student,” she added.
“A big part of Parents' Day is having parents see their children in action," said Millener. "I think we all missed that. By the same token, we couldn't expect things to be the same in the middle of a pandemic.”
According to Gautier and Millener, the day to felt seemingly rapid with only ten minutes to show families what goes on in the classroom. “Ten minutes is not a long period of time in which to explain a year's work. However, I was able to explain the basics, and I was able to see people. This doesn't always happen on Parents' Day when so many people are in the classroom,” explained Millener.
Gautier said that ten minutes was simply not enough. “In person, I feel they get a feel of the student/teacher interaction and how I teach. This year, it felt more like an intro to my syllabus.”
Looking forward, we look onto the plans for Grandparents' Day. While this experience was tolerable for parents, there are many difficulties facing grandparents on Zoom. “I feel that Grandparents' Day would not work well in this manner. I know that there are so many grandparents that can handle the zoom classes, but it isn't personal enough. Grandparents want to see their Grandchild in action, and I think that it would take away from the wonderful experience,” said Gautier.
While Parents' Day was odd for both parties, Millener notes that the day was never going to be normal because the "times aren't normal.” Through this experience, all participants had to adapt in their own ways to take the day in stride. Baylor did their best to try to make this experience as life-like as possible by providing video performances by the choir and orchestra and clips of life on campus. Millener’s final comment was “I really am proud of Baylor for adapting to the times. We can't do things exactly the same way, but it doesn't mean we can't be successful at trying something new. I am continually impressed by every constituency at the school. Everyone has had to adapt to a new way of doing things at every single level, and I think everyone has risen with grace and style to accept the challenge. ” She most definitely said it best.