Parent Teacher Meetings
I have to admit to being a little excited.
I imagined we’d sit at a table, him strapped in a chair to a lie detector, the teacher and principle looking severe and serious. We’d be in the gym, the lights above us humming, the seats about as uncomfortable as plastic can be.
Instead, it was something completely different.
When I was a kid, so long ago that my favourite toy was a metal UFO plane that was so heavy, it could have killed my brother had I actually be more accurate when I threw it at him….
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. Parent-Teacher meetings. Back then, they were just that. Parents and teachers. No kids.
I used to sit at home dreading what horrible lies the teacher was going to tell about me. I mean, I hadn’t pulled Lisa Johnson’s hair, not really, and not really hard anyway, and I was not the one that wrote, ‘Peter is a poopy-pants’ on the chalk board, that was Guy Lebouf, no matter what he said.
Oddly enough, when mom and dad came home, they were happy with me, except in grade 3 when the teacher was convinced, due to my behavior in class, that I was retarded.
Looking back, I could see how she thought that, but later teachers loved me. I stopped making farting noises every time the teacher turned her back and I started listening, learning and getting great grades.
So, back then, it was just three people. Mom. Dad. Teacher.
Being a modern family, we all attended. Dad. Mom. Me, the step-dad. The teacher. And The Youngest.
It could have been awkward, but we were all well-behaved and I’m sure the teacher had seen similar situations.
So I was a little shocked when The Youngest was encouraged, nay, required, to be there. He had a sheet of things he had to talk to us about, and he took us around the classroom showing us what he’d made, what he’d written, what projects he’d done.
Some of them he was dead proud about. Some, not so much. He hated the drawing he’d done of the moon, but I loved that he’d put in a flaming comet heading directly for it. But then I like those things. He brought a story to the drawing whereas other kids just drew, you know, the moon.
The ACTUAL story he wrote about a space cat was, however, brilliant! I loved reading it. He has such an amazing imagination.
He showed us where he sat, (close to the teacher’s desk, which should have been a hint at things to come), and told us who sat with him, and then, after all of that, we talked as a group about how he had been doing. The Youngest had one challenge, a challenge that’ll likely be life-long one. But apart from that, his marks were good, the teacher clearly liked him a lot, and she was pleased with his progress.
Again, back in my day, the teacher would have dictated to us. Joe, you have to work on your spelling. I know you win the spelling-bee contests, but you continue to make silly mistakes so get your head out of your ass and get it done, mister!
Now, the teacher gently prodded The Youngest. She was nice, so caring. She asked opened ended questions, not ones that I would likely ask, like, “so do you think it’s a good idea to poke your brother in the eye?” which kind of has only one correct response.
No, she asked serious questions that required serious thought on his part.
He bit his lower lip, thought hard, and together they came up with a plan.
Wow. I mean, wow.
I have no idea if it’ll succeed, but being a process guy, I loved the process. Engaging, cooperative, interactive and kind.
The Youngest ran out of the class as soon as it was over. I know it couldn’t have been easy on him and I think he was glad no one had heard about the time he… (insert a horrible thing an 8 year old boy could do).
Who knows, maybe when he’s my age, he’ll say to his kids, back in my day, we had to sit with our parents in the room! Can you believe that? None of this plugging gadgets into your skull-port and doing it all inside your head.
For me, though, it was very enlightening. 90% focus on accomplishments, 10% on things to work on.
A philosophy I could use in my life.
Certainly sounds enlightened to me. Oddly, I can’t remember anything about parent-teacher conferences when I was a kid. I think they were kept secret from children and happened in the dead of night behind the gym.