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This ain’t your mother’s parent-teacher conference

Submitted by on Thursday, 21 October 2010 One Comment

Back in the day when we had to walk four miles up hill both ways to school, Mom used to sneak out a few evenings a year for this mysterious thing called a “parent-teacher conference.”

Convinced that our teachers were going to reveal our every sin over the past nine weeks, we’d wait nervously for her to return. I don’t know what we were so afraid of, other than possibly the shroud of mystery. The only criticism ever relayed after a conference came when I was in eighth grade. “Mr. C says you talk too much in class.” And I wonder where Big Guy gets it from.

It’s a new era now, and parent-teacher conferences are held during the day. For us, that means no option other than to take the guys along. So much for the mystery.

Lifting the shroud wouldn’t have been my first choice – it’s hard to concentrate on a pile of papers with two kids chattering around you. It turns out, though, that removing the mystery might well have been the best choice in getting Big Guy to hear a message his teachers and I have tried to relay for three years with only intermittent success.

“Creates readable documents with legible handwriting” – insufficient progress.

His  teacher knows what that means. “I really can’t read this,” she wrote on one of his recent assignments.

I know what that means. “Can you tell me what this says?” I asked him as I looked over that same assignment.

He couldn’t, which means that even Big Guy knows that that means. He just won’t admit it most days.

He also knows how to do it, as his miraculous work at times demonstrates. If he knows the piece is going to be displayed, it’s neat, understandable and legible.

He just doesn’t get that there are consequences for not doing that all the time. Or so he claims. He’d heard of the consequences from both his teacher and me. It seemed, though, that hearing it from one of us at a time wasn’t enough to make him a believer.

He is now.

After we came home yesterday afternoon, he had a writing assignment to complete. It was neat, understandable and legible.

I think I like parent-teacher conferences minus the shroud of mystery.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Sandra Foyt said:

    In middle school, Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences were a wonderful way to help my daughter take ownership of her school work. They don’t do them at her high school, but they don’t discourage them either. So, we’re planning to have her attend.