School Conferences Provide Parents Quite An Education!

It is school conference time again. Another year of facing the reality of how our children behave when out of our sight line. It can be quite daunting. Lisa and I have always conversations leading up to our conference days where we kind of brace ourselves for what we might hear from our teachers. In talking about this year’s set of conferences, we found ourselves thinking of this post and how true it still remains!

Today is our second school conference for Emma this year. The first was all the way back in October, when I feel like our wonderful teacher was really just getting to know her, so this one makes me a tad bit more nervous.

Fortunately, I have been to a few of these already, so I have a pretty good idea of what we are going to hear. Our teacher is wonderful, so I know that she will couch all of her criticism with great construction. She will use phrases like “quite energetic” and “active participant” and “shows great leadership skills” when she really just wants to say, “Your child is totally hyper, won’t shut up and is really bossy.”

Don’t get me wrong, even if I wanted to change these qualities about her, and for the most part I don’t, I couldn’t. This is how she comes to the table. It will be a matter of managing her. I know this, because I was her in a lot of ways.

In Mr. Grubbs 6th grade science class I really enjoyed talking to my friend Brigit, and for the record she totally talked back to me! For some reason (and I am clearly totally over it, obviously), Mr. Grubbs decided we needed to be separated, and by we, he meant me, and by me, he meant at my own desk, BY MYSELF, at the back of the classroom. That wasn’t humiliating or embarrassing at all. It certainly didn’t leave me with a single lasting memory of it. Thank God I don’t have a public forum to talk about it as an adult, to really share my feelings and gain sympathy and make myself feel better.

My other favorite part of the conference is when we get the helpful reminders about what we should be doing at home to help reinforce learning at school, like practicing basic math facts. Oh, trust me, ma’am she gets plenty of that. Like when Mommy says, “5 minutes until bedtime!” but then she hears the computer keyboard still clicking away, she knows to add on at least 12 more minutes to her iCarly watching before I will really mean business.

However, when Mommy has the screechier, screamier tone with that message, she can quickly subtract a good two or three minutes because that means that Mommy is one stop away from crazytown, and it is time to jammy it up and hit the sack!

Don’t ever say that I don’t care about my children’s education around here, because obviously, it is my top priority!


Think fast! Do I add or subtract? Quick, I hear Mommy!


School Conferences Provide Parents Quite An Education! — 93 Comments

  1. Love this: “Thank God I don’t have a public forum to talk about it as an adult, to really share my feelings and gain sympathy and make myself feel better.”
    So true, right?? Good luck with the conferences! I’m dreading my first ones. I just don’t even want to know what my two are scheming at school!

  2. We have ours on November 5th. It is just pre-school, but still worry what I may hear. I did these as a teacher and used to get nervous, too. So, I think on either end of these, they are just nerve wracking!

  3. I had a science teacher that I had cried wolf to one too many times with minor ailments and skipping class to go to the nurse… So the time he wouldn’t let me go was, of course, the time I was actually sick – and I threw up in the water fountain in the back of his classroom.

    My first set of P/T conferences as a teacher were so daunting! Those euphemisms are a lot easier to come up with for some kids than others…

    • Oh man Sarah, that is the WORST! I can’t believe you had to throw up in the classroom…bet he never questioned you again! 😉

  4. That sucks that you had to sit at your desk away from everyone else! So far we’ve had great conferences with our older son. It’s my younger son I’m worried about. He’s very creative and likes to do things his own way (wonder where he gets that from!). I just know he’ll debate his kindergarten teacher next year. For example, I’m working on him understanding that it’s okay to write backwards but he has to write forwards when in school! Good luck with the conferences!

    • My younger one is very much like your younger one Jenn! Thank goodness her teacher this year totally gets her! 🙂

  5. I had a conference with JDaniel’s teacher a few weeks ago. He has to work completing tasks and not sharing his thoughts all the time. I hope your conferences go well!

  6. I’m not even sure conferences at our schools (locally) are even worth the effort to get there. Last year I got 8 minutes to meet with 4 teachers. Yup. Basically we introduced ourselves and the conference was over. I learn more from an email with specific questions than I do from going in. It stinks, I love seeing the classroom, the workspace, the desks, etc but you don’t even have time for that anymore. At one of the schools the conferences used to be 4 minutes. No, you don’t spend any time in the hallways waiting for the 3 people before you to have theirs because no conference ever goes over 4 minutes. Really? It’s incredibly frustrating (in case that tone didn’t come across clearly enough!)

  7. As one who has sat on both sides of that conference desk…I’m so glad I don’t have to do either anymore!!!!! But I do miss (just a teenie weenie itsy bitsy bit) going and seeing the room decorated with art work, etc.

  8. Now that the kids are in middle and high school, we really don’t have those anymore, but I sort of miss them. You really just want to know that the teacher “sees” your child as she is. If you get one that does, you are very lucky. I remember when my son was in 3rd grade and his teacher (who him and I both adored) said he was doing great, but he was a little bit of a cut-up. He liked to make people laugh, not disruptive, but that was one of the things she hesitantly brought up. I replied, “You know, kids these days are so serious. As long as he’s not being disrespectful, mean or disruptive, I love that he laughs his way through life.” His teacher paused, gave me a big smile and checked something off on her paper and said, “So do I!”
    She “saw” him.

  9. I think parents hate conference time, because they feel the reports are direct reflections on their parenting styles. Of course this is not necessarily true. . . but sometimes it is. I used to teach high school, and the first parent conference night was always an eye-opener. Sometimes from across the room, I could identify “Billy Joe’s” or “Cindy Lou’s” parents, and suddenly it all made sense.

    • I would bet that is exactly what it is like for a teacher…I can spot a “mean girl” mom from across the room, too! 😉

  10. What Steph said. Same school district. We go in, meet with all 4 teachers for 8 minutes. Seriously. It’s crazy. One year at my oldest’ conference, one teacher kept calling him by the wrong name and when I corrected her, she said “oh I have the grade right”…sure you do…. Then later on when I went in for some project presentation, one of my son’s friends was presenting and afterwards she said to me “And that’s going home with you, right mom?” Well, maybe his mom…I had to point out the other kid’s mom to her. By the way, that wasn’t the kid whose name she used to refer to my son at the conference either. I don’t love school conferences, can you tell?

    • Good GOD. I would be FURIOUS if the teacher didn’t even know my kid’s name. That is ridiculous! You and Stephanie should picket the conferences this year! 😉

  11. I love Parent teacher conferences we had ours last month and I found out a lot about my kid. I also like to do pop ups at my sons school. I need to do a parent conference for my daughter she is in pre k and I popped up on her last week omg I need to talk about her behavior.

    • LOL Kita! Something tells me that if the teacher thinks there is a problem she will definitely let you know…not that I have any experience with that or anything! 😉

  12. LOL! Too funny. I can tell you are TOTALLY over what happened in 6th grade, not bitter at all! 😉 I think we all have that one middle school memory that still haunts us! I had a teacher who would read your horrible test scores out loud to shut you up. . .seriously, “Well, it’s nice that you want to talk while I’m talking Mary. Would have been even nicer if you hadn’t made a 52 on that last test.” I swear to God! That lady was insane! Talk about humiliation! Not that she ever did that to me. . .I mean more than once. . .or anything.

  13. I’m sorry that you had to set at the back of the classroom by yourself – I’m pretty sure that would have been enough to make my snarky self really come out because there are all kinds of fun things that could be done with the name Grubbs!!!
    And – I love the way your daughter gets her math practice – priceless!!

  14. I’ve had a few Mr Grubbs… anyway, I LOL at you take on the at home math reinforcements. LOL. We did our second round of school conferences last week. It went well…so much better than last year. I’m still not liking that I always have to sit in those little chairs…smh. Great post 🙂

    • Oh my Gosh, sitting in the little chairs is the worst! My poor, tall hubby always leaves looking like he needs a chiropractic adjustment! 😉

  15. Way to go Mr. Grubbs. Because of your cruel, insensitive treatment Ashley turned out wonderfully and is a great mother. I hope you’re happy.

  16. My granddaughter received pretty much the same report. She’s quite active, always bossy and I can hear her now telling the other kids to be quiet. 🙂
    Thanks for posting. I liked your flashbacks. Have a blessed day!

  17. I laughed out loud reading your description of Emma’s teacher’s comments. I heard the same things about my daughter over the years. I was always so thankful for the teachers who appreciated her spunk rather than trying to rein her in or isolate her in a seat all by herself (horrible!).

    • Isn’t it great when a teacher totally gets your kid??!! Our teacher on Monday told us that she was a talker in school, too, so she doesn’t get annoyed with Emma for it! 🙂

  18. The one thing that is bittersweet about homeschooling via online school is no parent-teacher conferences, at least not in the traditional sense. I can talk with the teacher and give them info on my boys, but since they rarely interact, they don’t really get to know my boys. However, I get to know my boys better, and that’s a plus, and the teacher can give me some feedback as to strategy when I explain struggles we are facing, etc. I did always like talking with their teachers at the public school, though, because then they knew I was involved with their lives, I could share more info about my kids with them and they could enlighten me on how they did in a social setting and such. Sometimes I felt like my kids were being judged too harshly in some areas and sometimes I thought they were getting away with murder (I bet you know what I mean!), but I always walked away knowing that the teacher knew where I stood as a parent in regards to open communication and education. Though I would only call a handful of those teachers friends now, I was grateful for the experience and am looking forward to it again when my daughter heads off to school for a few years before homeschooling via online school with her brothers. 🙂

    • I can definitely see how in the homeschool atmosphere it can be tough to get a true teacher read on your child, but like you said so well, you get a chance to really know your child in that environment instead. 🙂

  19. I used to hate the singled out approach! So embarrassing…
    But me being me..I used it for my gain. I would pay EVEN less attention because I would doodle or create stories since the teacher thought I was just being really quite and it really worked…! Jokes on him…

    Parent Teacher conferences are quite frightening…you have no idea what “adjectives”they will use to describe your child.


  20. As a child I dreaded the “meet the teacher night.” Not for what my parents would learn about me but for how my mom would react. She’d bristle at any comment he teacher made that she felt was inauthentic. “Do you even know who Kelly is?” was the mildest of her responses. I never knew how the meetings really went (she’d always say “just fine”) until the next morning at school. If my desk was in the same spot as yesterday the meeting had gone “just fine.”

    • I am crying with laughter Kelly! The fact that your mom was so willing to speak up in your defense is AWESOME, but I would imagine did not always feel that way as a kid…especially with a moved desk! 😉

  21. this is one of my worst fears as a teacher, one day I will be the parent and how will I handle it all… will I be compliant, crazy, or rebuke everything the teacher says.

    • You will be fine Karen, and then you will call your bestie after the conference and pick apart everything the teacher said! 😉 Or at least that is what I do!

  22. This reminds me, I need to pick a time slot for Malone’s conference. It will be our first one, now that he’s all grown up and in preschool. I hope your conference goes well and you get a really nice compliment sandwich.

  23. I have a feeling I have many interesting parent-teacher conferences in my future. I’m sure my oldest will remain the type A, overachieving child she already is at four, and my youngest will be the one that brings out the ‘unique’ responses from her teachers!

  24. Ninth grade…. Mrs. Heidrick. Geometry witch. Yelled so loud at me for talking that I literally peed my pants, kinda. Like a few drops, and then I squeezed in total panic that I was actually peeing in my pants when I was in high school. Scared the living piss out of me. Witch I tell ya. Grr…

    So I went to the school nurse almost every day around that period and slept. And she gave me a D. Good times… good times.

    My high school years ROCKED. 😉

    • Oh man, Chris, she sounds like a nightmare! My geometry teacher was also horrid. Must have been something about having to teach that heinous subject!

  25. Ours is tomorrow morning! I’m not nervous, though. My kid’s an angel. JK, it’s just that he has the same teacher as last year, and I’m not expecting any surprises. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic…now I’m nervous!

  26. Our parent teacher conferences are tomorrow night. I love my son’s teacher and this year is our first year to have one in high school. From what I understand no appointment you just go find the teacher you want to talk to.

    • Interesting! That sounds like a pretty good setup…what do you do if you want to talk with more than one teacher?

  27. I get really nervous for them. My husband makes fun of me so badly. We only had two last year. She was three! And I was so nervous that I was fidgeting in my little preschool chair that I was squeezing myself and my baby on. ‘Cause yes, I brought my baby to a parent teacher conference.
    You and your kids are all stars!

  28. I ALWAYS got moved to my own desk or separated from friends! Starting from kindergarten and ending never.

    The funniest was in high school when I had two different teachers for history class and the teacher whose class I talked in a lot asked the other teacher how he handled me and he said “she never talks!” <—-I had no friends in that class and sat quietly in the back listening to music.

    • BWAH HA HA HA Tara! That is awesome in every way!! Yeah, I was moved starting early and it never ended for me either! Still wouldn’t stop even if I were in school today! 😉

  29. Lucas has always been the hardest for me. Not because they what I a horrible kid he was or because they wrap nice words around criticisms. But because I always wonder “are you sure you’re talking about MY Lucas.” I always hear how funny, witty, charming, and helpful he is. At home he is sullen and only helps when I burst into tears. I’ll give them funny. To this day I don’t think anyone knows who my kid really is.

    • LOL Carli! It sounds like he is one way at school and different at home…I feel like my older one is like that, too!

  30. I always look forward to them. #Not. Invariably it involves the teacher telling me how “spirited” and “enthusiastic” my girls are. I think Sydney almost brought her Kindergarten teacher to tears.

    • Burst out laughing reading this Kristen! I am dying over Sydney almost making the kindergarten teacher cry! 😉

  31. My daughter has yet to have a really hard core parent-teacher conference. Instead, every day I pick her up we have an impromptu conference. “How’s she doing?” “Did anyone bite her today?” That’s what pre-school consists of.

  32. Haha! That’s awesome. My parents always went to my parent/teacher conferences even though my mom was a teacher and then principal at the same elementary school that I attended. So, uh, like I could get away with anything even if I wanted to?

  33. Okay, here is a confession of just how fried my brain has been. I completely blew off Nico’s conferences. I was a teacher so that is not at all like me. Here’s another confession. I panicked when I started reading this thinking I missed he twins (I did not). I dread them. It’s not because the kids are doing poorly, it’s because I have a hard time biting my tongue the whole time.

    • Oh man, can you reschedule? That is just the worst feeling ever! I bet the teachers understand, though…they know that you are not normally forgetful!

  34. I’m going through that right now with my son. He sits by himself and has to always be the last kid in line. I’ve popped in unexpectedly twice this week and each time my son was in trouble.

    • The second ones are stressful, too….because I feel like that is when you really get the truth about your kid! 😉

  35. I hope Mr. Grubbs reads this! I was a talker too. (big surprise!) I had to go from my science class to homeroom one time to write my name on the board and I was MORTIFIED. A desk all to myself? Oh gosh, I’d still be in therapy!! ha!

  36. Oh goodness, good luck at the conference! I kinda love that strong leadership skills also means bossy. She will be the boss at some big amazing company and you will remember these days and think of them as preparation 🙂

    • Let’s hope so! Right now her plan is to be a superstar, so I am hoping we can get a firmer grip on reality by adulthood! 😉

  37. I have had some doozy conferences. I have found myself saying, many a times, “What is annoying and frustrating to you now as a teacher, may turn out to be his biggest asset” (e.g. I was a huge talker in school – now I’m a Speech Therapist!)

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