Parent-teacher conferences

It’s parent-teacher conference time again.  Does anyone else get sweaty palms and performance anxiety over these damn things?  It’s like my subconscious thinks I’m going into a Gestapo interrogation.

SS Kindergarten Officer:  You are feeding him ze Fruit Loops for breakfast are you not?

Me:  No! No. I swear! Nothing but wholesome cheerios and the occasional pancake.

SS Kindergarten Officer:  But you let zem watch TV and you refuse to read wiz zem because it ez boring, no?

Me:  GUILTY!  Oh god. Guilty! Don’t turn me in.

Absent the dark imaginings of my slightly hysterically fearful of authority mind, they have been great.  Saige and Garrett are doing just fine.  They read.  They vaguely recognize the numbers 1 to 33, in order even.  They can correctly identify a quantity larger than another quantity, especially if you phrase the question in terms of which child, in the last year, has received a larger piece of candy than another child. They are deliciously average and meeting standards in every way.

Yay for meets or exceeds standards! It’s the little things!

This morning was Garrett’s conference and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with his teacher and hearing about his behavior in class.  She managed to make me mostly believe that she enjoys him despite her vague references to his failure to shut the f@ck up for ten seconds and listen to what someone else – the teacher, his friends, the wall -  is saying.  She assured me that this is not unusual for Kindergarteners and not a particular problem for Garrett.

There was, however, she explained, tapping the “2″ on Garrett’s report card under “Social Development Criteria” next to “responds appropriately to adults and students,” something that they had been working to improve.  Garrett needs to think before he speaks and not say everything that springs into his mind as it can result in hurting others’ feelings.

Oh god.  You know my heart dropped and my mind flew back to the incident in the fall when he told an aide that her self-portrait was too thin.  Before I could sink too low in my chair, she went on with an example.

She had a sub in class last week as she ran conferences and they had been working on a fairly simple activity for – she admitted openly – ” a rather long time.”  Garrett went boneless in his seat and, his head thrown back and his arms hanging in limp despair at his sides, declared loudly, “I’M SO BORED. I’M GOING TO DIE IF WE DON’T DO SOMETHING ELSE.”

Fabulous.  So he has inherited his father’s intolerance for any kind of banality, repetition or stupidity and my flair for insanely dramatic sarcasm.  I mouthed promises to talk to him about how hurtful criticism can be if delivered incorrectly – a skill I am not sure that I have mastered in the last 39 years – thanked her and left.  I did actually make it out the door before I lost it laughing.  Barely.

I have only Quinn’s conference to go and he attends to an elitist, wanna-be-hippies-but-we’re-paying-too-much-for-preschool, Waldorfy school, so I’m not too worried.  Childhood is magical, you know.  An endless arc of learning.  I am allowed to make fun of elitist hippies because I am almost one.  If it weren’t for the constant barrage of embarrassing alternate views from my Republican husband, I would throw in my lot with them completely.

Actually, my penchant for traditional education often whacks against my longing to believe whole-heartedly in alternative methods. Here you go. I’ve been playing with a new program and I made a mock animated video of a pretend conference for Quinn at elitist hippy Waldorfy school. I’m the one with the ponytails. The hippy preschool teacher is played by the weird fanged anime. I had limited options.

GoAnimate.com: Elitist Hippy Preschool Conference by anymommy

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It’s free and fun!

I am kidding. Mostly. I totally respect school choices of all sorts. We mock what we love.

44 Responses to Parent-teacher conferences
  1. Robin from Israel
    March 27, 2012 | 6:38 am

    You slay me – my kids are firmly entrenched in public school now that they’re older, but I was cracking up at the memories… (Also, is it wrong that the best part of the animation for me was the lack of arms – very distracting, but oh so funny?)

  2. Danica
    March 27, 2012 | 6:45 am

    Yeah. Kids are kids. I laughed on that part of your story when your child burst out saying he is bored. I think that kids are just really frank people and they say whatever they want to say. Like what others always say, “Kids don’t lie.” :)

  3. MichelleG
    March 27, 2012 | 1:00 pm

    When our oldest was in Kindergarten – the teacher called us in for a meeting. As my husband and I sat in the office I leaned over and said to him (quietly) “I don’t even like this woman…she’s all of what 19? What could she possibly know about kids? She sure better not tell me how to raise my kid!” to which my husband replied “hmmm…um yeah” as he was obviously not listening to me…and was off thinking about work or something.
    When we got into the meeting the teacher said “I only have two issues with David….he doesn’t pay attention and he doesn’t seem to respect me.” I laughed out loud. OOPS! that year was all pretty much down hill from there.
    :)
    Fast forward to our 5th kiddo –
    Kindergarten year “meet the teacher” meeting. . . cute..fresh out of college…sooooo darn happy and cheerleaderish you just want to puke….out comes the teacher bubbling over with enthusiasm for changing the world one blue crayon at a time.
    when it was all over – my husband and I looked at each other and smiled..”They’re gonna make her cry!” I said and he replied “Oh yeah..she’s toast!”
    she quit half way through the school year.
    lol

  4. Amy
    March 27, 2012 | 2:09 pm

    oh man, that was some good shit!

  5. Christine
    March 27, 2012 | 2:49 pm

    Oh, that’s hysterical. I love it!

    (But you’ve no arms or legs! It’s hard for people with no arms to draw letters accurately.)

    Also, Garrett’s declaration made me crack up. I don’t think you’re doing a thing wrong there.

  6. D
    March 27, 2012 | 3:13 pm

    “He thinks it’s a Q no matter where the stick is.” Awesome.

  7. tracey
    March 27, 2012 | 3:28 pm

    I should do one of those videos modeling my own parent/teacher conferences which are basically me talking to myself. I can berate myself for not doing enough and then berate my other self for not following through at home what is being taught in school. Fun times all around.

    You crack me up.

  8. Candice@NotesFromABroad
    March 27, 2012 | 3:39 pm

    Laughing and not missing those days one bit.
    I loved having children and often wish I had had a dozen or so but the teacher conferences ?
    No thank you. Ever.
    My little one started kindergarden at 4 , he was doomed to always be the smallest, youngest, smartest in class.
    None of us really look back on those days with completely happy thoughts about teachers and rules and knuckleheads runningthings.

  9. magpie
    March 27, 2012 | 4:26 pm

    i think any child who is cultivating an intolerance for any kind of banality, repetition or stupidity alongside a flair for insanely dramatic sarcasm is on the right track.

    yesterday we were, in not so many words, reprimanded because the 8yo took a copy of vanity fair to school, and proceeded to show everyone pictures of naked lady gaga. oh yes.

    • Anymommy
      March 27, 2012 | 6:02 pm

      Oh, that is classic. Cheers. Clinks glass with yours.

  10. Joy
    March 27, 2012 | 4:35 pm

    I would really like to tell you at length how much you made me laugh with your witty (some would say viciously sarcastic) animation that mocks all that I hold dear about my children’s school but it’s my recess time.

    • Anymommy
      March 27, 2012 | 6:01 pm

      Best comment ever. I love you.

  11. Heather
    March 27, 2012 | 6:30 pm

    I almost peed my pants.
    I could probably do that outside during recess.

    • Anymommy
      March 27, 2012 | 7:47 pm

      Oh man, that made me laugh. It never gets old ;-_

  12. Jennifer
    March 27, 2012 | 6:49 pm

    I hate conference time. This year, the two Kindergarten teachers for Finley and Cainan sprung on us that they should go to transitional K next year instead of 1st grade. Fab.

    Can you email me? I know you two did Kindergarten twice, yes? Can we talk about the positives before I have a melt down?

    • Mama Mo
      March 28, 2012 | 2:45 am

      Hi, Jennifer. My boys haven’t been to Kindergarten yet (they’re 2) but I was an elementary school teacher before I stayed home with them. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that your two are LUCKY to have teachers who recommend a transitional kinder class. It will mean more time to play and learn (and maybe have more recess? :-) before going off to first grade, which has testing and all sorts of grown-up stuff. If the teachers think they’d benefit from an extra year of kinder, I’d say go for it!

      • Jennifer
        March 28, 2012 | 5:31 pm

        Thanks Mama Mo! I definitely appreciate your comment. I already feel more relaxed. Both of my kiddos are summer babies, and one has a sever vision impairment. I think you are right – they will benefit. 1st grade isn’t what it used to be! The only down side I am finding is with extra cirriculars and summer camps. Silly, I know. They will not get to go on with their Scouts troops, or get to go to the “entering 1st grade” summer camps all their current friends are joining. Sigh.

        • Anymommy
          March 29, 2012 | 4:23 am

          Love Mama Mo’s comments, Jennifer. I really, really strongly agree. The best thing I’ve done for my kids is hold them in a second year of Kindergarten. They are so confident and mature this year. So happy. Nothing is a struggle and they have been labeled as leaders. Love. They will be seven going into first grade and I am just fine with that. A friend said to me, when I was trying to decide, “what’s the hurry? do you want one more year for them as children or do you want to rush them to adulthood?” I don’t think holding kids is the only choice – it totally depends on the kids – but we’ve been thrilled.

          • Jessica@Team Rasler
            March 29, 2012 | 4:56 am

            I was never more nervous at a parent-teacher conference than when I was finally the parent at the table! So I totally get it.

            Now reading this thread about doing K twice, I have to ask if you are worried that having G repeat K is part of why he is bored. Do you feel like it’s a problem that nothing is a struggle for them? That would really worry me. I’m asking because my guys are July birthdays and I’m already starting to get questions about K (even though we’re a year away) and whether we’re going to do pre-K for an extra year, etc. I find this whole issue so incredibly bothersome.

  13. Truda
    March 27, 2012 | 6:59 pm

    I’m still laughing about Garrett’s “outburst” at school! I often feel like shouting that at work. Maybe I’ll try it and see what happens!

  14. Deb
    March 27, 2012 | 7:30 pm

    I could really go for some Swedish chairs from Sweden. I also like how Fang Guy was wearing a bathrobe. Down with the tyranny of clothing!

    (on the other hand, if you really have concerns about letter recognition and the line on the Q, feel free to email me and I can point you to some resources that can help (with zero mom-involvment). I promise to keep the homeschooling propaganda to a minimum.)

    • Anymommy
      March 29, 2012 | 4:25 am

      Yes please! I’d love it. No rush though, there’s no way I’ll focus on it until Listen To Your Mother is over.

      • Deb
        March 30, 2012 | 2:11 am

        All right, I emailed you with the email-bot thingamajig. I hope you get it, I have an irrational distrust of those things….

        Hope some of the suggestions help! So I don’t have to nag you mercilessly!

  15. Melanie
    March 27, 2012 | 7:35 pm

    that is HILARIOUS!!!!

  16. Elaine
    March 27, 2012 | 7:48 pm

    Some days I wish I could have recess a few or lots of times a day. Adult recess includes adult beverages, right?

    Your video is great! :D

  17. Beth
    March 27, 2012 | 7:57 pm

    I cracked up at the video…it’s a good thing I’m alone in the classroom right now, or my students would have been quite confused.

    (They’re not at recess. They went home. I’m about to get my kid from daycare, where he learns letters but not in the mud. Alas. He does like sticks, though.)

  18. Sharon
    March 27, 2012 | 11:51 pm

    OMG, video is hysterical and creepy at the same time. I just realized that I too pay money for my preschoolers to play in the mud, but I realize that I don’t care because I don’t have to decon him.

  19. Sandy
    March 28, 2012 | 1:31 am

    “He likes to play in the mud. That’s why he likes it here.” LOL That was great; I’m still laughing, even though I have had my own public-school fears.

  20. Anne
    March 28, 2012 | 2:32 am

    I LOVE YOUR VIDEO. Cracked me up from beginning to end. Also, is there any comfort in knowing that the public school teachers get nervous about meeting parent too? I love feedback from parents too…FYI. Also, last year, for the first time ever, a parent brought me a warm cinnamon roll during conferences. Their child moved to the way top of my favorite kid list. :-) In other words, the way to this teacher’s heart is through her sweet tooth.

    • Jennifer2
      March 28, 2012 | 1:09 pm

      Anne, that is awesome. I may appropriate the cinnamon roll idea for my kid’s next conference. :)

    • Anymommy
      March 29, 2012 | 4:27 am

      Excellent, excellent advice. I’ll have to figure out their teachers’ Starbucks orders. And yes, it does comfort me to know that the nerves go both ways!

  21. Annabelle
    March 28, 2012 | 2:56 am

    S, you know I love you.

    Peeps, the comments are nearly as good as the post! LOL.

  22. Galit Breen
    March 28, 2012 | 3:17 am

    Dying.

    And then more dying.

  23. Tami
    March 28, 2012 | 4:14 am

    Our teachers have been performing their jobs under the super fantastic state of Job Action so I have yet to see a report card or attend what could be called a standard parent teacher interview. I have had a meeting with the teacher and it was lovely but it’s not the same thing.

    I loved your video. I too would throw my lot in with the hippy crowd if I didn’t feel all self conscious about being “that” airy fairy person.

  24. MommyTime
    March 28, 2012 | 1:47 pm

    “He thinks it’s a Q, not matter where he puts the stick” — this is hysterical! I wish I had something smarter to say, but I can’t think clearly because I haven’t had coffee yet (adult recess?).

  25. Caroline
    March 28, 2012 | 2:52 pm

    Loved your anime!! When my son started public pre-K after 2 years at Montessori, he knew 2 letters. I tried to pretend I wasn’t worried! I’m happy to say that he now knows all his letters and even knows what sounds they make!! Of course, I’m still nervous about his conference tonight and even had a bad dream about it the other night. I’m considering faking an illness so my hubby will go without me. I don’t think he’ll fall for it though.

  26. kristen howerton
    March 28, 2012 | 7:12 pm

    I’m so comforted to know I’m not the only one freaking out prior to every conference. And it sounds like we are at identical preschools. We’re also making the move to public next year, and in our conference I was given a major side-eye about that.

  27. Nicole
    March 29, 2012 | 2:55 pm

    kids say what they want. conference with the teacher would be great for the benefit of the Parents to monitor their child activities in school.

  28. heather
    March 29, 2012 | 5:25 pm

    that video is the funniest thing ever!!!

  29. Michelle
    March 29, 2012 | 8:19 pm

    Love. Pure and unadulterated love. My wee ones would never survive at a place like this because they would never learn a THING other than what they chose.

    But I’m still creeped out. WHERE are the arms? And the legs? What are the hands and shoes attached to? I can’t get over that….

  30. Shell
    March 30, 2012 | 12:00 am

    Oh, that video cracked me up. And is so true.

    I would have cracked up to hear a child say that about needing to do something else because he was so bored. Yes, even when I was the teacher.

  31. Lady Jennie
    April 1, 2012 | 5:03 pm

    Does it make you feel any better that I turned beet red and choked with laughter at his outburst?

    What can I say? The kid’s got character. And that’s not something you can easily learn.

  32. Valerie
    April 6, 2012 | 1:43 am

    LOL! Great read! I remember those days!! The teachers made every tiny details of the child’s behavior seem so critically important. My son was a very picky eater, and his first grade teacher made us think he was going to need to be hospitalized if he didn’t eat better immediately! He’s now in sixth grade with a much better appetite!

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    June 29, 2013 | 1:39 pm

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