Prom for my school was a few nights ago and it was the 6th prom I’ve chaperoned. Now, my school is very small so things on my tips/what I’ve learned list is probably going to be different than top tips for someone chaperoning at a large school. Nevertheless, I think I’ve come up with a few things that are basic/universal enough to be applied anywhere.
- Every year my students ask me what I’m going to wear to prom. I always re-wear a dress from a wedding or party that is appropriate i.e. not too revealing or fancy. So when I tell students “I’m going to wear a dress, but not a really fancy dress or gown” and they always ask me why I’m not going to go all out and dress like it’s prom I remind them that this isn’t my prom. So dress up a little bit to fit the event, but remember you don’t need to get all fancy – it’s not your prom.
This year I wore a laser cut fit & flare dress that I wore on my Alaskan cruise last summer.
- Students will ask you to go out on the dance floor and dance. I think this is super weird to do! I personally don’t do it, but I suppose it would be fine to do the cha cha slide with them, but I just find it weird. I love dancing so it’s definitely hard to not want to dance when you’re listening to music all evening long, but it’s not that difficult to refrain when you remember the dance floor is filled with teenagers.
- It’s no secret that I love food so I’m always interested in what kind of food will be served. Take advantage of the cocktail hour and dinner. My school doesn’t pay chaperones so you might as well enjoy the free dinner you’re getting. This year I actually said to a group of my students, “Okay you can tell me what you’re wearing later. Let’s get to the important stuff – what are you going to be feeding me?”
- There will be students who are dressed inappropriately. But unless they’re naked or just ridiculously inappropriate, there’s nothing you can do about it now that they’re there. The best you can hope for is that they’ll have some sense in what they’re wearing. Over the years I’ve also seen some girls who are wearing dresses that are not necessarily inappropriate, but moreso ill-fitting. I think this is something that is a learning process – figuring out what looks good on your body type and how things should fit. It’s something even grown women continue to work on – I know I do!
- There will be drama. As a chaperone you’re not just keeping an eye out for questionable behavior, but trying to keep the peace. I try to remind students to enjoy the night and make good memories celebrating with their friends before the year comes to an end and they’re all off to college. Don’t let something silly upset you and ruin your experience.
In the end, hopefully everyone has a good time!