Mar 24, 2009

Parent Teacher Conferences.

Here in Massachusetts a couple of weeks before the actual conference night you call the high school to schedule your kids conferences. Every time I call it creates complete chaos for the secretaries at the school. It takes,whoever answers the phone, an enormous amount of time for them to wrap their little minds around the fact that I have 3 kids at the high school and that I need to schedule 4 conferences for each one. The girls each have 7 teachers but there is not enough time for me to see all 21 teachers so I have to choose which ones I want to see. All three of the girls happen to be doing fabulous in school at the moment so I didn't have a teacher I "had" to see. So I asked the girls to each choose the 4 teachers they wanted me too see.

Madeline insisted that I would get a "kick" out of her philosophy teacher and she was right. She was my first conference and as I walked in the door the teacher said, as almost an aside, "Madeline has a A in my class but I do wish she would talk a little more in class," then for the next 9 minutes she covered everything from Rush Limbaugh to stem cell research. I did not get a word in edgewise. She was fascinating to listen to but my conferences are booked solid, every 10 minutes, and I had to run back and forth from 3rd floor to 2nd floor so I was a little nervous as she kept expressing her views as I was trying to back myself out of her room. But Madeline was right this 64 year old philosophy teacher, with multiple earrings in her ears, and oh so many opinions was something I needed to see.

I do not care how well my kids are doing in school I never miss conferences. I go twice a year. The teachers are bewildered by it.....that I would spend 2 hours of my Monday night coming to see them when I do not need to ? I did not know that I was unusual. I could not imagine people not wanting to go to conferences. If for nothing else go for the entertainment value.

I really want the teachers to know who I am. I have a lot of kids that will be going through this school in the future and how will I know which teachers are good and which may have issues if I do not start meeting them? My girls wait anxiously for me to get home from conferences and they all pile on my bed and want to hear every single detail. What the teachers said about them, what I thought about the teachers. They seem to enjoy knowing that their teachers have met their mom. And they like that the teachers know about their families. Since the girls are all getting mostly A's and not causing any problems I often get to spend the allotted 10 minutes just chatting with the teachers. It is amazing what opinions you can form about someone in 10 minutes. :)

My hardest conference last night was one of Amanda's teachers. I am intrigued and irritated with this teacher. I really would love to understand him. Amanda has never had anything less than an "A" in her life. All her conferences are the same, "responsible, hard worker, smart girl, a little too quiet, love her." So when I walked in this guy's class last semester I was floored as he started talking about Amanda, I was sure he had the wrong child matched with the wrong mom. But he really was talking about my Amanda. And she had a "C" in his class ? I wish I could take him with me to all her conferences so he could see how much what he says about Amanda differs from what all the other teachers say about her. I think he may pride himself on knocking "A" students down a notch. It has been a tough lesson for Amanda. But she did not want to get out of his class. And last night he mentioned this fact to me and said that, the fact that she had stuck it out when she could have gone to a different class and received an easy "A" said something to him. I smiled at him but I confess in my mind I was thinking some things that I would never, ever say.

For some reason in our town all the parent teacher conferences for all the schools are on the same evening. I am not sure how that brilliant idea got approved? So, since I can not be three places at once I always call the middle school and schedule Joe's conferences for another day and I call the elementary school and do the same thing.

It is amazing to me, as I carefully watch and form my judgements of all of these many teachers that I meet, how many different personality types choose teaching as their profession. I guess it makes sense since we all have different personalities. But oh, how frustrating it is to be in a class where your little personality does not match your teachers little personality. And you both delight in making life awfully difficult for each other. That happened to me with Mrs. Felton in 6th grade and I still feel horrible for the trouble I caused Mrs. Felton. It also happened to me with Frau Pearce in my high school German class but I confess I do not feel one bit bad about the trouble I caused her. :)

It is very interesting to me that ME, "Ms. Talks Way Too Much in School" has only ONE out of 7 kids that gets in trouble for "chatting" in school. ( Can you guess who the chatty one is?) JOE!!Teachers are constantly saying to me that they really wish they knew what my children were thinking.....let me just tell you that I always tell them that they should not ever wish to know what my children are thinking and that they should count their blessings that they are quiet in school. :)


Anne Marie said...

I am so impressed that you take the time to go to all the kids' schools! Good for you. I wouldn't miss my kids' conferences for the world. In fact, this week is my kids' parent teacher conferences as well. By the way, Rebecca is a delightful story. If you haven't ever seen the 1940's movie version of it, you have to see it. Laurence Olivier is superb (and quite handsome).

CJ said...

I complained about my Junior year english teacher... She made some comments about my religion and she called me out during class and was insulting me repeatedly....

All I did was raise my hand and nicely told her that I am sorry but she was mistaken and that was not how our church is. She got mad and yelled at me and told me I didn't know anything. So being the outspoken one that I am asked her if she had ever been to one of our churches and she said no and I said well I am there every Sunday and Wednesday nights too and get up at 5am to go there before school every day and that is not how our church is. A couple other kids in class agreed with me.

This teacher kept making comments about me from then on out and when I was not in her class one day she said GOOD, she isn't here today, now we can have a peaceful day! Then she used my name in a vocab sentence saying I was not there to tyraid in her class today. I was an A/B student in the harder classes and she tried to give me a D......

So I complained and got her in trouble. She was ordered never to bring my name up in her classes again. She was even talking about me in other classes I was not in. She did it again and a friend told me and I got her in even more trouble. I do not regret that at all! Had she done that to one of my children I think I would have gotten her fired. But I don't think I even told my Mom about this, I just took care of it myself. She also had to publicly apologize to me in her class too.

Kristy said...

Jenn, you are such a good mom. I feel very inadequate in your presence. Your observations are intriguing and also crack me up. Next round of PT conferences, please take your camera. Just tell 'em, "Kristy Merrill made me do it."

Bernd and Rachel said...

I love going to PT conferences for the same reasons Jenn! Our school district only does conferences once a year, and they stop after
6th grade! that's great that you are able to go for your bigger kids. And are your kids truly quiet in school? That's surprising!:)