Parent-Teacher Success

Because you are so. awesome. we successfully managed the parent teacher conference.

It didn’t look good, folks.  If I were liveblogging the day, the first post would have read something like this: “Oh shit.  I’ve pretty much just alienated the teacher we actually DO like by using quoty fingers behind her back.” 

People, sometimes I cannot keep my problems with authority in check.  Sorry in advance about that, RR!

At any rate, upon discovering we couldn’t make our previously decided late afternoon time, we asked to move into a perfectly fine open morning space.  I was surprised when the teacher waffled, saying we’d have to get permission for the change.  I was pretty much still aghast when a manager walked in which is when I used the quotey fingers around the word “authorized” and promptly identified myself as the sort of person teachers everywhere wish would just disappear.  I’m not proud of it, folks.  I’m working on it.

Thus “authorized”, we began solidifying our game plan.  I suspect this always makes my wife nervous since I’m about as predictable as a swarm of bees when I’m riled up.  I can feel her sitting next to me, tight as a spring, just hoping I won’t be too stern, to sassy, or too confrontational.  I am, as she knows, perfectly capable of being reasonable – smooth, even – but the aforementioned issue with people who relish being in charge for the sake of power fail to…charm me.  But, bygones.  We arrived.  I was on my best behavior.  It was the teacher we’d seen that morning which, despite the hiccup, was the person we were hoping to see.

We heard terrific things about RR.  She’s smart.  She’s physically a cross between Usain Bolt and a team of parkour champions.  She’s having a spot of trouble with the shape “crescent” but, frankly, crescent?  As for the running, the teacher seemed surprised that on her first day of school, they opened the door to the hall and RR took off, cackling and giving everyone a heart attack (surprise!).  I suspect that this has been the foundation for the complaints about running.  She gave them a good scare early on and they haven’t gotten over it since.  We had delicately warned them that she was ahead of her classmates physically and they just said, “oh ho, I’m sure you’re right, oh ho!” (What? Your family doesn’t say oh ho?)

We did discuss the hitting and were appropriately concerned but we learned that the daily lectures are disproportionate to the actual worry the teachers have.  We learned that she’s well within the realm of normal.  We learned that she’s getting better.  We learned that she usually lashes out when someone gets into her (admittedly expansive) personal space.  And then we learned that they make her hug.


Watching her teacher connect the dots was like watching a slot machine come up cherries.  Letting her have a little space is probably far more effective than making her hug or hugging her.  D made some excellent suggestions about letting her high five or shake hands after an incident instead of hugging.  I think we’ll have fewer complaints about hitting.

I welcomed the chance to talk to the teacher we don’t usually see and was relieved to hear that she had some similar concerns about the other teacher.  She agreed to talk generally with the teachers about including positive feedback at pick-up and/or information about the day instead of just a critique.  I also got the impression that we confirmed one of her worries.  I suspect it helps knowing a parent feels the same way.

Overall, I’d call it a success.  Thank you!

5 Responses

  1. ….they MAKE her HUG?

    Sorry. Can’t get over that.

    Hoping they can convince the other teacher that negative feedback-a-go-go is not really the best way to communicate with parents.

    • Dude. I KNOW. I’m interested to see if this is a RR thing, a school thing, or a teacher thing. Depending on the option (particularly the latter two) we can explore strategies and options. If it’s RR, well, we’ll all just need patience, focus, and lots and lots of time spent burning off extra energy!

  2. I’m 40-something and I still lash out when someone gets into my large personal space. Although I have learned to not hit or bite. Most of the time.

    I too have issues with those who like power for the sake of it. I’m pretty convinced they are exactly the type who shouldn’t have it. Then again, I also think that rules are made for other people and don’t apply to me.

    Good to hear you had a good conference though. The story of RR hitting the door, cackling cracks me up.

    • I gently moved my wife back the other day when she was too far into my bigger-than-usual–that-day space. Apparently that, and cackling, run in the family.

  3. Dude, my new co-worker likes to come over and stand well into my personal space when she has a question. It makes me twitchy.

    Also, I’m with you on the authority figure issues. I come by it honestly; my mother has been known to give principals a piece of her mind, and my father once told his boss that if he (the boss) was looking for someone to say yes all the time, he should go to the pet store and get a parrot, because my father was not going to be providing that service. Perhaps surprisingly, my father still got tenure after that encounter. Anyway.

    As for myself, aside from an unfortunate honest streak, I don’t mind authority figures as long as I feel like they deserve the authority. If I respect your leadership, we’re golden. If I think you’re a power-hungry idiot, we’re… not. Poor Critter, and poor PB. Possibly they should both fear the advent of parent-teacher conferences with me.

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