Fall Parent/Teacher Conference night, the longest 12 hours of a teacher’s school year.
There are four scenarios to a parent/teacher conferences:
The first one is called, “I can’t believe they did that”. During the conference you’re telling the parent/parents how well their child is doing and how impressed you are with the student’s behavior and so on. Then the next day out of the blue the child completely loses it and ends up getting suspended. And you have to face the parent, and both you and the parent have the most confused look on your faces. All you can do is just shake your head.
The second scenario is called “It only lasts for a few days”. The second is actually the opposite of scenario one. During the conference you are explaining your concerns about the child’s behavior and how it is affecting their academics. The parent states,” Tommy will come back a different person to you tomorrow.” And the parent is right; you don’t even know who this child is. But, unfortunately the changed child only last for 3-5 days and then it all starts over again. In this case you would want a parent conference to occur every 5 days….If only it would be that easy.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree is the name of scenario 3. As the conference progresses (Even though the conference is at max 20 minutes) you realize that you are staring at an adult size version of your student. And all you can say in your mind is, “Now I know why they are the way they are.” And like their child you wonder are they even listening to what I am saying.
Scenario 4: Any Response? Is made up of three different situations.
1. After sending out 3 sign-up sheets, 2 emails and 1 phone call parents still do not respond to sign up for Conference Night. And then the next day you receive a phone call from that parent, yelling at you that they didn’t have a conference.
2. Make up your mind. Parents sign up for a time and then change it 2 to 3 times. Example: A parent signs up for a conference at 5:30 pm. Let’s say conference night is on a Thursday. The parent calls on Monday the week of conferences and asked to change their time. Ok, no problem you change it to 6:30 you happen to have an opening at the time they needed. Great, it works out. They send in a note to school on Tuesday requesting another time change to 7:00 pm. Again you send back the note saying you can squeeze them in. On Wednesday you send home a note to everyone reminding them of their assigned time on Conference Night. The same parent that has changed their time twice already signs the paper but draws an arrow from their 7:00 time slot to the 7:45 time slot, making this the third time change. Only for Conference Night to occur and the parent comes at the original time slot of 5:30 (which you already filled with another time change) or doesn’t show up at all.
3. Just come on in. A parent just shows up even though they never signed up and demands to meet with you. They usually come right at the start of dinner or during your dinner break. Either way you never get to eat or finish your meal. Or the parent will come 10 minutes before conferences are over at 9:00. This incident usually occurs after you have been sitting waiting all night for parents to come in and no one has.
Lucky for teachers, we have the pleasure of repeating this process once again in the spring!
Intervention Specialist for 20 years.