Thursday, April 23, 2009

Meeting the parents

So parent teacher conferences were this week and I really don't enjoy them at all. We get half days and then have an afternoon session and an evening one to be flexible for parents. I also find it strange that children come with there parents to conference. I never went with my mom but these parents can't find a babysitter. I'm just glad they show up. Not all of them do. So these are some pieces of conversations from the conferences.

Parent #1
Me: I know that ______ is capable of doing so much more, she just needs to focus

Parent: Well I've been away (in jail) so that may have been affecting her.

Me: Yes I think so...

Parent #2
Me: I know we just met recently and discussed the problems with _____'s behavior and I want you to know that I really appreciate you talking to her.

Parent: Uh huh.

Me: When you tell ______ that school is important...she hears you and it does make a difference. She is such a smart girl and her behavior is what keeps her from doing her best and off the honor roll.

Parent: She is who she is and ain't nothing gonna change that.

Me: Okay (her phone rings and she starts walking away) thanks for coming!

Parent #3
Me: I would really like to see _______ stop yelling out in the middle of my lessons. It is really distracting for the other students and for him.

Parent: I'm sorry and I've spoken to him about that

Me: I think it would be a good idea to discuss it again

Parent: What does he yell out?

Me: Mostly jokes and strange noises

Parent: Oh I see. Well he'll be going to a new school next year

Me: I think they will probably have the same expectations there.

I know that there are things that need to be said but I really hate giving bad news to parents, like that there child may have to be retained. I hate it even more when the parent acts like it the first time they are ever hearing it and is shocked. I guess they missed it at the last report card conference when I said it and the two progress reports that I mailed home and the letter saying that I was still concerned. Also the meeting that they were invited to at school on how to help their child because they were in danger of repeating.

To those nonteachers out there I probably sound terrible and when it's my child who knows maybe I'll be as shocked as these parents but for now I'm just annoyed. These conferences always seem to get me down. I love all my students and want to see them succeed. Can I really expect as much I do from my students after meeting their parents? I really believe I can! Don't get me wrong I also have lovely parents that make the job worthwhile and let me know how much they appreciate me and tell me that I'm doing a great job and that I make a difference.


Kristin at My Art and the Mom in Me said...

KATH! I found myself laughing a little out loud at those snippets of conversation.. although, entirely inappropriate on my part because it really is sad! What made it funny to me is I was picturing your face as you are reacting to what they know that scrunched up face that you do?? You are not so great about hiding your emotions, LOL.

But in seriousness (in seriousness??!!) yep, not a word, I don't think...
Kudos to those parents that appreciate all of the hard work that you do..and even more kudos to you for putting your all into your job. I am proud of you, Kath.

(UM...can you tell I am tired?? LOL.. Allison frazzled me out a bit this morning and I have not yet recovered..although, we did take the girls for frozen yogurt..and my ice cream was so took the edge off a bit..) Just a bit.. I am sort of feeling Boothe Park grumpy.

ok.. ENOUGH!! This is not a comment, it is a NOVEL! ;)

Brittany Ann said...

Ugh. I totally relate, and I hate PT conferences.

My father was a teacher all his life and said the wise words: "If you've got a crappy kid in your class, there's probably a crappy parent behind them."

And it's totally true, as evidenced by your convos above.

You're fighting the good fight, though. Thank goodness for teachers like you, who actually care! You will reach a lot of them, and that's more than most people will ever do!

Kim said...

This makes me sad. I know that not all parents are caring and positive but those poor kids won't have a chance.

Michelle said...

I truly look up to you. I could never be a teacher. I don't think I'd have the patience for the parents. Sounds like you meet some very interesting people at these conferences. Yuck! They sound terrible. I had my first parent teacher conference this year for my little one's preschool. I actually was interested in what the teacher had to say. What's wrong with those other parents? Thanks for stopping by my place and your sweet comment. I truly appreciate it. Have a great weekend Kat!

Kari said...

Oh I feel for you...I'm not a teacher, but a few of my friends are, and the stories they can tell about the parents. Oy vey. I think you are right to keep your expectations high for those students, even after you meet their parents. You may be the only one who believes in them, and encourages them to do their best!!! They won't forget you for that. You have the most important job in the world. :-)

Funnyrunner said...

Well, like Kim, I think this is pretty sad... you must teach at a challenging school. Hopefully there are SOME caring and interested parents? This makes me laugh, though, because I've been on the other side SO many times with my boys' teachers. Now, my husband and I care A LOT, even send them to private school, and yet we still sit on the other end of the conference listening to how they need to focus more, etc... And we HAVE discussed it and done everything we can... but they are BOYS and not always interested in what the teacher is saying...

I'm so proud of you - it takes so much energy to be a teacher (I could never do it), and you find the energy to be a mom AND a teacher. I wish the public school system had more smart and caring teachers like you and that all of you teachers out there got paid what you're worth! (much more)