I’ve already discussed how hard it can be when teachers tell you what your children are like; since you live with them you usually have a pretty good idea; and if you are living in denial then it’s not going to help anyway.
I’ve discussed how treating the parent/teacher interviews like speed dating, where you have a list of things to be answered and move on, attitude can make it go so much more smoothly. And how red wine eases the pain.
This time I found two other things to add to the list. There seem to be teachers where all the parents are huddled up waiting to see them – and so you can use this time to catch up with neighbours who you rarely see because you are both busy with Life, Kids and Other Stuff. Really useful that way.
The other thing I found is how fascinating it is when you listen to the teachers ……how they react to you, to what you have to say, and how they communicate back. Not the actual words, but how they do it. Some are organised and ready with everything…..and some are almost organised and quite distressed when they find they don’t have something in that spot to show you, and how did that happen?
You have the teachers who stop when you ask a question, and look back through things, ponder about it, and will discuss that they don’t recall that but will look into it. And they do look like it is of importance to them, at least while you are there.
And there are those who seem to be perfecting the art of not saying anything. It must be sheer torture for them. Parent/teacher interviews (10 mins each), next set of parents…….. how much stress must it cause them to be able to say nothing, but with sincerity.
I particularly find it enjoyable when the teachers state that the teen has not been at school a lot during that semester. I’m torn sometimes between discussing how many abscenses there have actually been, and why some of them happened. And the other fact, that if said teen did that well when they were ‘apparently’ not at school often, they are obviously a genius in teenage clothing!
I notice that the fence sitters seem to have a litte arsenal or remarks that are designed to draw your attention away from what you came to ask; designed to take you off elsewhere and on ‘the back foot,’ so to speak. I’ve a one track mind. Once we’ve discussed absences, and other things, let’s get back on topic……….
It really is fascinating though. Afterwards, it’s interesting to ponder on your own opinions of the teachers you’ve seen. And ponder on your teenager’s opinion of the teacher. And funnily enough the teachers opinion of your child will sometimes reflect their opinion of you.
I go to parent/teacher interviews to ‘show interest’ in my kids learning/life. I don’t expect to find out anything shocking, or unexpected. You usually hear those things from the principal and at the time they occur. Sometimes, you’ll hear a little about said teen losing focus and you can take that on board. But usually, what the teacher is seeing is what you are seeing at home.
I find if you don’t go to parent/teacher interviews the school as a whole tends to consider you as somewhat uninterested. So I go. Because I want the school and the teachers to know that I am very interested. But, if there are things we need to really discuss, I will make an appointment and discuss it in private, not in 10 mins with 20 other parents and teens 1.5 metres away.
I’m beginning to think that it should be illegal to put the teachers through this when it seems so unproductive for us all. My current view is that we should be able to contact a teacher if we have an issue, if they have an issue, or if we just want to check up on what’s happening for our teen. And cut out this (to me) meaningless charade.
Mind you, as the parent of a younger sibling teen……………there is nothing makes you chuckle half as much as the look on the face of a teacher – that look when they connect the dots, and go ‘OMG, now I remember you!’ Priceless! 🙂