Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trading Places

Yesterday, I once again sat at a table for Parent/Teacher Conferences.  For several years I was on the teacher side of the table, sitting there with the report card and samples of student work.  I really liked that side of the table.  I liked being in charge, knowing what information I was going to share, answering questions for parents, and building relationships with the families in my class.  I do not like being on the other side of the table.  Waiting outside in the hall for our turn to come in. Sitting down in the two empty chairs, while the teacher pulls out a pile of my child's work.  Waiting for them to tell me how my child is doing.  It doesn't help that my first parent/teacher conference left me completely shattered.

I still remember walking into our first conference, naively thinking this was going to be a piece of cake. We would hear glowing reports of how brilliant our child was, how popular he was, how he was the teacher's favorite student. I was not prepared to see 1's and 2's as scores for my child's academic progress. I was completely unprepared to see the words:

This child is not recommend to move into kindergarten next year.

As a reader who always skims to the end of the page first, my eyes were drawn to the comment section.  At once my heart dropped, my arms crossed over my chest, I leaned back in my chair, and my face became set in a very harsh look. I knew it, but I was furious, this was not my child. This was not in my plan for my child.  As the conference continued, I uncrossed my arm, I stopped shooting daggers at the teacher, and I began to cry.  

It was with apprehension that I went to the first conference for this same child who is now in kindergarten.  As always, Brandon and I went together, for moral support.  I had joked to the intern on Friday that I tended to cry at these conferences, but I would try to keep it together.  Don't worry, she told me, they always have a box of Kleenex on hand. I'm not sure to be relieved or even more worried at that news.

This time, I was able to sit back and listen to a glowing report about my child. Two teachers who appreciate his quirky sense of humor, recognize his sensitivity, and see him as a unique individual.  This time as I skimmed the report card looking for the comment section, I had no reason to move into warrior mode.  This time the comment was:

This child brings joy into the room each day. He is bright, funny and sincere.  

My heart swelled with love for my oldest son.  And, a deep appreciation for these two women who understand and truly like my son.

Although, I would still rather trade places and be back on the other side of that table, any day.


Michelle said...

That is so wonderful, so awesome! Congratulations! I'm so happy this conference was 1000 times better.

Jenny said...

Wow that is so great!! I'm so glad it went well. Sounds like he's in the right place with some great teachers.