So the parent/teacher conference is done.
As I shared with you in my previous post (Conference Time), I was very apprehensive about this meeting. I had great advice and support from readers… “Take deep breaths” and “Remember this is just a dot on your son’s timeline” were some of the support and comments that I received.
I decided that coffees would be necessary for an evening conference…especially when we both could be a bit nervous. Last year, it was extremely necessary to continually advocate for my son which might have given me a bit of a challenging reputation. Teachers tend to hear about parents like me from previous teachers and I’m sure last year’s teacher had plenty to share.
My TBP’s teacher was very welcoming and appreciative for the caffeine. As I walked in, I noticed the Yoda Turkey that my son had decorated. It was hanging with the others in the hall. The room was organized and neat and had just the right amount of stuff without being too overwhelming for a person like me. I sat down and took a deep breath and was preparing myself for what I was about to hear…
My son’s teacher took out a paper that had two sections. One side was called ” Celebrations” and the other was called “Learning Opportunities.” The first thing that I noticed was that there were several items listed on the “Celebrations” side. The best part, was that the points that she wrote, were very personal and described my son very accurately. Seeing these words moved me and I started to cry ( no big surprise, right?) as I read. This made my TBP’s teacher nervous since I expected that she thought it was sadness that I was feeling instead of the joy and relief that I couldn’t keep inside. I explained to her that I was so emotional because this was the first time where strengths and gifts had been noticed in a public school setting. She continued by sharing specific examples of his growth and progress along with sweet stories of his positive interactions with others.
She knew that he was an excellent reader and admitted that she needed to do more to challenge him in this area. She wanted to develop a strong relationship with him first where he would work harder for her once he cared for her. I know that there are time restraints and that often the most struggling readers exhaust a teacher’s literacy time, but she shared great ideas about a book club and a response journal that I thought would work nicely. There was talk of math enrichment once a solid understanding of skills were shown and I shared some of the problem solving work that I do with my son at home.
Was it all peachy? No…His handwriting is sloppy and he hates to do pre-write and editing during writing time. He tries to explain to her that his ideas are complete and fine as they are right now. Although he is an excellent speller, the process involved with the spelling test is exhausting to him. Because of this, sometimes he chooses to purposely spell words incorrect. The recent test that she showed me made us both laugh out loud because every time an “r” was required…he put a “w” in its place. Also, a “z” was used to replace “th” so “Zanksgiving” it was for number 10.
I was prepared for the “effort” grades and the “social skills” marks and I was happy to see that almost all of the social skills grades were “meeting standard” with a few “working towards standard.” I felt her evaluation was fair and accurate and she shared what she was doing to keep the progress going.
I left this conference with a portfolio of work and wonderfulart, but more importantly…I left feeling reassured that my son’s teacher “gets” him and can see his talents instead of focusing on his struggles. Because of this, I would say this conference deserves an A+ 🙂