Conferences Anyone?

Posted by ZenMom Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wondering why I haven't posted in a while?  Well, I spent the better part of the last week at teacher conferences.  And being the glutton for punishment that I am, I sat through three different formats for three different children at three different schools.

Now these meetings are a far cry from the ones I remember as a kid.  We'd spend a good week drawing pictures, cleaning out our desks and printing our names as neatly as we could in preparation for the big day.  The babysitter would be called and my parents would leave for the evening.   At school, my parents would visit the classroom, talk to my teacher and look at all my work. Back at home, us kids would wait nervously, hoping and praying that Mom and Dad would come home happy.

Fast forward more than a few years and my kids conferences come in several varieties.

There's the Let's Talk as Fast as We Can While Flashing Worksheets in Front of You until the Timer Goes Off variety.  For these you have exactly 20 minutes (and woe to the parent who goes over their allotted time) to go over how your child is reading, writing, adding and playing with others.  All the while Junior's teacher has a fake smile plastered on his/her face, conveniently leaving you about 30 seconds for questions.  This format usually ends with the "your child is right where they should be" line.

Then there's the Take a Seat in the Gym and Wait in Line to Talk to the Teacher Who Has No Idea Who Your Kid Is kind..  Rearing their ugly heads in middle school, these conferences (I use the word loosely here) has all the warmth and charm of a trip to the DMV.  The teachers all sit at tables lined up in the gym or cafeteria, while us parents wait patiently (or not) for our turn to confer.  When you finally make your way to the front of the line, you get the pleasure of an oh-so-intimate conversation while the growing line of equally impatient parents breathes down your neck.  All this trouble to speak to an educator who fumbles for your child's name, and basically regurgitates the same information you found on Infinite Campus earlier in the day.  But its all worth it when you here them tell you that your beautiful child is "right where they should be."

Now my personal favorite is the We're Gonna Let Your Kid Run the Show and Tell You How Great We're All Doing conference. Affectionately known as the Student Led Conference, your sweet angel sits in front of you, flashing that sweet, sweet smile. She'll show you her work, reads you her list of goals (dictated by the teacher earlier that day) and tell you how much she enjoys her class.  And if little Suzie's not doing so well?  Are you going to be the one to break her little heart by pointing it out?  Nope.  And the teacher knows it.  So there you sit, when to your horror you hear the words leave your lips. "That's great, kiddo. Looks like you're just where you should be."

So here I sit at the end of a long week scratching my head.  I realized that after hours spent at school  I still have no clue how my kids are doing. To top it off, my search for that elusive place where everyone is magically right where they should be has been a total flop.  Maybe if I kick my heels together three times, or sprinkle some fairy dust, Iit will magically appear.  In the meantime, I can't get my mind off that big elephant present at each meeting, trying desperately to get someone to notice it.
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  1. Mine are coming up. I love the way you described them. And, the timer true!!

  2. Interesting post. It's sad that conferences have changed so much. My oldest is only in preschool so you've let me in on what I have to look forward too. Less personal intereaction, sounds typical of today's society. Frustrating.

    I like your blog. Found you on Mom Bloggers Follower Group. I'm now following and looking forward to reading more.


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