I don’t like Parent-Teacher Interviews.
I sound like a child don’t I?
I don’t like brussel sprouts! I don’t wanna eat ‘em!
But as a parent, I do want to know how my kids are plodding along at school, so I have to do what I don’t like to do. You know, talk… to people.
Aside from the fact that we now have four interviews to attend, thus taking at the very least an hour and a half to complete, I always feel like I am the student under review. Parent Teacher Interviews are like sitting a test for Parental Input to Offspring Education 101.
It is uncomfortable, and not just because of those tiny little chairs they make you sit on. I am always in two minds, I want to impress whilst simultaneously rebel. Perhaps that’s because I was always a ‘good girl’ at school, now that I’m an adult I’m allowed to have an opinion. And I will. ‘Cus I can.
Mr.P is Deflectors teacher this year, and he is lovely, a real nice guy. We walk in sit down and he tells us all about Deflectors progress. He has his laptop in front of him, he’s reading his notes, and making notes about the interview. We discuss high school interviews and Deflectors propensity to talk non-stop in mind numbing detail, we relate on a human level. Adult to adult. We leave his room feeling somewhat, at ease. This is not so bad.
Mrs C & Mrs D are The Actors teachers, he has two this year. Lovely ladies, they appear to be ad-libbing, No laptop, no notes, it’s all very easy-going. They spend 10 minutes telling us how Actor is such a joy, an easy, organised, helpful, happy child. A peacekeeper. Everyone loves him; they wish they had 24 more just like him. Yeah I can relate. We leave that room a little light-footed; this isn’t so bad after all.
Mrs. F is next, Captain Clumsys’ teacher. She is wonderful. She won me over at the start of the year when she told me that she wasn’t going to give the kids homework because ‘Hell, parents have enough stuff to remember and in grade two there’s not an awful lot of value in homework’. Eventually she caved under pressure from the Tiger Mums and handed out homework books, but still I appreciated her raw honesty. That and the fact that she always tells me how much she adores my Captain Clumsy, she really loves him and I believe her. We get to sit on adult chairs in her room too, how nice. She tells us how CC is two years ahead with his reading and what an intelligent boy he is. We have heard this from teachers since he started school 2.5 years ago, but still Hubby and I look at each other in surprise. Are you sure this is our son you speak of? The child who loses his shoes every-single-day. The child who will get to the school gate before remembering he needs his school bag. Intelligent? Really? I am a bad mother for even questioning how amazingly brilliant my child is.
We relate to each other Mrs. F and I, Mother to Mother.
Just as we are about to walk out the door she says “Oh one more thing, has CC ever had his eyes tested? He’s just so clumsy; I wondered if there was a medical reason?”
My son is in good hands.
Moving on to Mrs. M, Princess’ teacher. I am already tense before I get to her room. She’s a lovely lady, an excellent teacher, and Princess adores her, but she doesn’t really listen. When I say Princess is still having trouble reading but she has improved recently, she says ‘Yes that’s because you don’t read with her, I can only do so much, you have to do your part too’
Let the parent bashing begin.
OK so I don’t sign the reading book, ever. We do read though, and we play word games, and we purchased an interactive online reading programme that has taught her more in the last month than the last 6 months of school. Mrs.M agrees that Princess has improved a lot recently but doesn’t want to hear about the online programme, she admits to knowing nothing about it yet dismisses it as ‘fine for additional support.’ I want to reach over the table and slap her. It is no coincidence that Princess has improved in the last month. Listen to what I am telling you!
I sigh, realise I’m talking to a brick wall that wants to be right, and decide to smile and nod whilst having every intention of continuing with what I know is working for my child. If I have to feel like a naughty school girl in the principal’s office every time I see her, to ensure my daughter learns in a way that is right for her, then I throw myself on the sword. I leave her room with a bad taste in my mouth, feeling sufficiently berated with Bad Mother stamped on my forehead.
I spend the next hour fuming, ranting to my husband, annoyed that she wouldn’t listen to me.
And suddenly I remember a trick from childhood, something to put in my memory box for next time; Eat the yucky brussel sprouts first so that you leave the table with the yummyness of crunchy salted potato and buttered sweet corn still in your mouth.
schedule the Parent Bashers first, so that you don’t leave feeling like you failed the test.