Thursday, October 25, 2007

Time for Parent Teacher Conferences. . . blah, blah, blah

"Tis the season- for Parent Teacher Conferences! I've been in the PT conference mode for about two weeks now. It's one of my least favorite things about teaching, along with paperwork, grading, planning- Oh, heck! That's what teaching is! What have I been doing for 15 years???!!!

No, really, if I could JUST teach, I would absolutey LOVE my job! It can be a bit "thankless", to say the least. I feel that I have great ideas, keep my kids engaged for the most part, and have great communication with my parents, however, sometimes, it never fails, I always have to have at least ONE, sometimes more than one parent who has to try and make me feel "incompetent." It shouldn't amaze me about some of the kids I teach, after meeting their parents, I realize that "the apple certainly doesn't fall far from the tree!"

For example, I've had students in the past that can NOT take responsibility for ANYTHING they do wrong. Aren't we all human? Don't we learn from our mistakes? Or better yet, shouldn't we? I have always taught my own kids, as well as my students that we make mistakes, but we actually learn more from our mistakes. Take many famous scientists and inventors for that matter. Look at Thomas Edison- almost 700 tries to get the light bulb right- aren't we glad he didn't give up. I'm sure some other Joe Blow would have eventually figured it out, and we'd be learning about Joe Blow's invention instead of Thomas Who??? Regardless, he didn't give up. He was resilient, even when folks made fun and wondered when he'd throw in the towel.

No today- we have kids that want to give up, or better yet, blame others if something isn't the way they want it to be. The worst part of that is that the parents "enable" this behavior. If little "Johnny" comes home with his agenda signed, and he had to sit for 5 minutes filling out a "Reflection" paper about what happened, what s/he could have done differently, and what they can do in the future, most times Mom and Dad are emailing the teacher, or calling the Principal/Superintendent/School Board, or their attorney to file a complaint with the State Board of Educators to have your teaching certificate revoked so that you can "NEVER HARM A CHILD AGAIN, OR TEACH FOR ANY STATE IN THE UNION!" Because, little Johnny was just throwing the whole roll of toilet paper down the toilet in the bathroom, because someone dared him to! Instead of having little Johnny understand that it's NOT o.k. to waste paper, clog a toilet, and then lie to the teacher about who did it because they don't take responsibility anywhere else, so why start now!? Anyway, mom will come cuss the teacher out, so it's not like it really matters what the teacher says anyway.

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!! I don't get it. I see now, why so many kids grow up to become disgruntled employees that must be led out of the building with a police escort, so that they don't go all "postal" on the company. I am sure that they never dealt with a small failure when they were younger. Or, better yet, mom or dad always "bailed" them out, so what the heck is this boss talking about- "You're fired!" Wait 'til he meets my momma! Sad, but true.

I'm always shocked, and don't know "WHY?" when Parent/Teacher Conferences roll around, and I get some mom or dad who thinks "Little Sue" hung the moon, yet she is the class bully at school under your care, or she is failing third grade math, because she is counting on her fingers still to get 3 + 4! "But she made straight A's last year!" "You must not know what you are doing!" Then, I have to go and burst their bubble and show them what Little Sue and Little Johnny are producing for me. Wow, compared to other third graders, your right! They do need help- but it must be YOUR fault, as you should be teaching them their addition facts for heaven sakes! What do you teachers do all day? Paperwork? Conferences? Planning? Grading?

YEP!!! That's exactly what I do- AND think up ways to fail your child, because that's what teachers go to school to do- to learn all the tricks of the trade and be labeled- "incompetent." How many years 'til retirement?

Kristin

P.S. I really DO love the teaching part- it's just all of the other "junk" that makes it seem "thankless."