September 16, 2007

First Parent-Teacher Conference done…

Posted in parents at 3:14 am by mrsmauck

What an exhausting day it was, but it’s over. I met about 20 parents, I think. Our school holds the conference on a Thursday evening from 3 to 9 p.m., making an incredibly long day for teachers, especially newbies like me who get a lot of visitors. I had a parent who questioned the value of one of my writing assignments, and of course I thought of a good reply later: I’m not teaching these kids to analyze paintings, and how they relate to The Crucible; I’m teaching them how to think and communicate. I’m being as creative as I can to give them assignments I think they might get into, and this is the thanks I get. This parent’s son could easily be an A student, but he was on Academic Probation last week for simply not handing assignments in. When he handed in his first on-time assignment this week, it was an A paper. His dad seems to be opposed to the teaching of literature in our schools, and my principal had encountered this before, so he came in with the parents and deflected some of the criticism expertly by placing the blame on No Child Left Behind, testing, state objectives, etc. By the time they left, I think they thought George Bush was was the reason their son was failing my class.

I’m not a fan of parents who bring their students into the conference, either, I’ve decided. One set of parents brought both daughters into the classroom with them, and the daughter with the C grade (and D writing skills) looked as though she was on the verge of tears the entire time I listed her incomplete assignments, and was forced to defend my reasons for giving her a 70 on a writing assignment. That was definitely my most tense meeting, with a close second being the host parents of two foreign exchange students who seemed to think I was teaching a college curriculum to their students, who both have B averages, mostly because of late assignments and misunderstanding assignment directions. I could have pointed out that the foreign exchange student in my sophomore class is holding down an easy A average, despite the language barrier, but I didn’t.

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