Parent-Teacher Conference

Tomorrow is our very first parent-teacher conference. I’m eager to see what sorts of things my children’s teacher will tell us about them. We’ve had some email exchanges, and I know she seems to enjoy having them in her class. The surprise for me was that the children are expected to participate in the conference. The older children (our school is K-8) actually lead the conference and spend the week prior to conferences choosing work to showcase what they have learned to be presented to their parents in their conferences with their various teachers. At the lower levels, students are expected to participate in goal setting and this starts even with the kindergarten kids.

I’m oddly nervous about this meeting. I know my children are doing well with academics. But this is the first real classroom experience they have had. They never went to preschool, and have had two very short stints in daycare (both in-home daycares and both relatively small). I guess I’m just not sure what to expect. It’s only a half hour meeting for both of them together, because their teacher felt like we didn’t need a full hour to discuss the kids back to back.

I’m a little concerned about J, because she’s nearing the point she’s neared with gymnastics and dance and swim where she got just comfortable enough with the teachers to start letting her sass come through AT the teacher. Of course, neither of those environments had clear consequences for said behavior, so maybe this won’t happen to the same extent at school.

I am wavering on bringing up an issue, and it will be interesting to hear if anyone has thoughts on this. Today N got in trouble for something that was an unintended result of him trying to do the right thing. They use a “1,2,3” system of discipline, and if they get to “3” they automatically lose half of recess. A few things are worthy of an “automatic 3,” one of which is trying to make shadow puppets when the projector is running. They use hand signals to quiet the class and also for the kids to communicate things to the teacher (like “I have to go to the bathroom.”) Today, the class was being noisy and N raised his hand with the “quiet” sign and inadvertently ended up with his hand in front of the light on the projector casting a shadow on the screen. Which he was promptly given an “automatic 3” for and missed half of recess. He was devastated. I talked to him on the phone a few minutes ago and he was bawling. I’m torn. Sometimes we have to learn that we have to be careful how we go about doing even the right thing to be sure we aren’t doing a wrong thing in the process. This is a fact of life. However, I hate that he got in trouble for something he wasn’t even intending to do, and while I understand all kids have to be treated the same for the same infraction, it just seems harsh to me that he got punished in this way. He’s NEVER been even on a level “1” at school, so clearly this isn’t a kid who gets in trouble. But I also don’t want to teach him that if he gets in trouble at school that mommy is going to fight his battles for him. And the punishment has already been served. But since his conference is tomorrow, is it fresh enough to bring up? Am I making too much of this (I’m good at that). I guess I just feel like some of the lessons they learn about how to behave in school will really be ingrained in them at this level and I hate for the lesson to be “don’t bother trying to do the right thing, because you’ll get in trouble for something you didn’t intend to do as a result.”

I know this isn’t the last time something like this will happen, but just like at the beginning of the year when J dealt with a little girl whom she adored deciding she didn’t want to be friends with J anymore, watching your kids learn life’s hard lessons might actually be harder on their parents than it is on them.

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4 thoughts on “Parent-Teacher Conference

  1. I think it’s worth bringing up, but during a moment where it is just you and his teacher. Then you won’t have to worry about him hearing anything and taking it as ‘mommy’s getting me out of trouble’. I’m really surprised that there wasn’t a short discussion with him, even after the slides were done about why he had had his hand up. You know I’d ask, so I’m probably the wrong person to comment…..

  2. I would definitely bring it up. It’s worth it…especially because it was an honest to goodness mistake.

    As a teacher, I would want to know if I had inadvertently ruined a child’s day for something they did on accident.

    Please tell her. Then please tell us what she says/does about righting the wrong.

  3. I would ask about it too. You only heard his side of it, would be interesting to hear the teacher’s take on it too. And you could gain some insight into how to talk to him about it or future things… Plus learn more about how discipline is handled in the classroom. Good luck! 🙂 Looking forward to hearing how it all goes…

  4. I’m still trying to get my kid to sleep in a big boy bed and use the potty, so I’m pretty far behind you on the parent learning curve, but I’d bring it up too. I’d approach it from the angle of supporting and empowering N to communicate with his teacher about a misunderstanding. I’d help him express that he accepts (and has already served) the consequences for the unintended outcome of his action – the accidental shadow puppet – but that he cares enough about the rules and his relationship with his teacher that he wants her to know it wasn’t his intent. Just a really simple “no big deal” conversation to show N one option for how to handle situations like these. But again, take it with a grain of salt. You are my parenting mentor, not the other way around. 🙂

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