Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Parent Teacher Conferences

I have a parent teacher conference this morning. I dread these. It's not that my kids are horrible, but it seems like most of their teachers only see the negative. Also, many of these teachers are very black and white. Either your child fits in to their "mold" of a perfect student, or they are trouble. I'm not saying my children are perfect, but they really deserve a lot more credit than they get.

My son's last year teacher rarely said anything good about him. It was hard for me because his previous two teachers always told me good things about him. One of them had even suggested he join the gifted and talented program. But when she told me they focus mainly on writing, I declined because my son has difficulties with fine motor skills, and HATES writing by hand. I couldn't understand how his other teachers could see his strengths, but last year's could not. His previous teacher had told her about a time when he was so overwhelmed about all of the writing they were doing in preparation for open house, that he didn't even want to go to school. She then concluded that my son hates school. I'm not sure how she made that intellecutal jump, because it was a one time occurance.

This year's teacher doesn't seem to understand him either. Who did she go to for information about him? Last year's teacher. That teacher told her that she thought he was depressed because he sometimes doesn't respond like she thinks he should. Frankly, my children don't really like that much attention, and this child is a little bit on the shy side. But just because he doesn't respond the way she thinks he should doesn't mean he is depressed. On the contrary, if she spent some time with him she would see, as we do, that he is a very happy child. She also told this teacher that he NEVER did his homework. It's interesting to deal with black and white people. When your child misses an assignment here or there, that suddenly becomes "NEVER does any homework".

I was thinking about that teacher, and about how she never really appreciated my son's abilities. The other day I went to the office to bring his lunch that he had forgotten. There sat last year's teacher working in the office. She said, "Oh, I was telling your son the other day that he should try reading Jurrassic Park. Your son has outgrown all of the books in our elementary school library. He needs to find an author he likes and branch out to other books. You should take him to the library." I told her that we have a huge library at home, but I thought her idea was good and I would encourage him to read Jurassic Park, which we own. But I was SHOCKED that she said something nice about him! I wish she would have appreciated him more when he was in her class.

Well, I'm leaving in a few minutes to meet with this year's teacher. She seems very black and white, so I'm not optimistic about how this will go. I'm hoping that now that she has had a few months to get to know him that she will see his good points.


Epitome of Sweetness said...

With my son, it's he's wonderful if he's interested in that class, and if he's not...then they say things like, "Doesn't participate, needs to work on such and such.."
Parent teacher conferences are more for a "Who-Came" anyway, that's how I have always felt. They mark your name down to see how much you really care.

Looney said...

I tend to view it as a gift from God to have a teacher with good personal skills. The norm is quite different. I was mostly ignored throughout my school years. Growing up in Taiwan, my wife was just a number in her classes of 100 or so kids. But thanks for reminding me that I have to go through this ritual today.

Inside Stories said...

I had kids who excelled in school, and a couple who did't. I would go to parent-teacher conferences and one teacher would brag on that kid and say, "Something is sure right at home!" Then I would go to the next one and the teacher would complain and complain and say, "Something is sure not right at home!" :0)

Amber said...

I was pretty good in school I thought, I for the most part made A's and B's, but teachers are just people, and as in all relationships there are good and bad ones, and I definitely had a few teachers who just didn't like me, and I still don't know why - maybe they were just jerks LOL.