Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Parent Conferences - the highlights

Overall, the conferences went well. Out of 24 students, I had 22 parents - not too shabby. One of the missing parents is in Puerto Rico, so I need to reschedule with her. The other one is a mystery. Her son came to school last Friday after having missed 6 days in a row. His mother told me that a family member died suddenly, and she was going through a really stressful time. She said she was thinking about taking her son back to Puerto Rico for the rest of the year. Then she said that he'd be in school next week (meaning this week), and she would make her decision then. He didn't come to school at all this week, she didn't show up for conferences, and we haven't been able to reach anyone on the phone. Kinda weird.

Only one parent really pissed me off. Yesterday's conferences started at 4 PM. At 3:00, all the teachers were having pizza in the faculty room. Our secretary came in to say that the mother of Frequent Absentee Girl was there. She wanted to know if I could see her now, instead of at 5:40 (her scheduled time). My principal said, "No, they're eating dinner. No conferences before 3:30." So the mother sat outside the office to wait. At 3:20, I went to my room to finish vaccumming. I looked up and saw her in my doorway. "Can you see me now?" she said. I turned off the vaccuum. Sighed. Looked at the clock. "I guess," I said, "but I don't have any of her stuff ready. I wasn't expecting parents until 4." I took my time digging out her report card and test folder, and then sat down to meet with her. I told her that her daughter's absences were a big concern (she's missed 16 days in the 2nd trimester, for a grand total of 25 so far this year). I showed her how her daughter's grades have dropped at least one letter grade in each subject. She gave me this big story about how things are a mess at home, and sometimes she's sick or her son is sick, so she keeps the two girls home, too. I stressed that her daughter's attendance is crucial to her progress, and that if her grades drop any more, I'll have to recommend that she be retained for next year. She swore up and down that things will change. We'll see.

And this from the second grade teacher. This falls under the "Things I Couldn't Make Up If I Tried" category. A mother came in for her conference, and they discussed her son's recent hospital visit. He missed 2 weeks of school for pneumonia, but she thought it was much more serious than that - she even called the pastor to come for Last Rites. She told Miss W that every time the nurses tried to get her son to lie down, "his face got redder than my pads." Then she went on to tell Miss W how much the dog missed her son: "He was shitting all over the rugs." I mean, really. Could she be more inappropriate?

And now - school is over. No more talk of work or kids or obnoxious parents for a whole week and a half.

Spring Break, whoo-hoo!


Sara said...

Conferences are tough. I find it so interesting and equally frustrating when some parents lack total empathy for the teacher's position. Yes, they eat. Yes, they have feelings. When a parents asks a teacher to change their schedule, I think it is self-absorbed. I hate that.s

Dree said...

The worst part of it is that we send home a notice a week in advance with a time for each parent. If someone tells me that they can't make it at that time, I reschedule them. But for a parent to show up 2 hours early and demand to be seen right then and there? Well, that just shows you where the kids get their lack of respect.