Parent-Teacher Conferences 2009

To be honest with you, in the last few years as a teacher this has been one of the hardest few days each year.  First, it is two days in a row of full teaching for 7 hours and then two evenings right after that of 4 hours of meetings with parents which makes for a really, really, long day.  Today was no exception, but, today I needed this more than I knew.

Some background before I get too far into tonight’s story.  I have been at my current school for going on 3 years and have had pretty much the same students for that entire time.  My first year conferences were stressful, filled with tears of frustration on both sides, and many wrong turns on my part.  Ever since, I have had a phobia of these two nights.

Even after 2 years, I dreaded conferences today as well and every second leading up to them was pure torture.  All I could picture was parents being upset and crying and saying “this is why they never come to these meetings.”  The difference was that this year I was beyond prepared, I have had each of these students for such a long time I am able to really address the good, the bad, and ugly in depth with a lot of proof to back it up.

There was one appointment for me tonight that made my entire career in Special Education worth it.  This young man has made so many gains in the time we have been working together that he has gone from reading on a 1st grade level to reading on a 6th grade level and comprehending what he is reading too.  From struggling socially, to being able to have basic interactions with peers successfully.  From being a disorganized mess, to learning a system to help keep him prepared for class and knowing where his materials are.

Discussions his first year were more about where were his parents and getting them involved in his life and education. I discussed how much improvement we could make if we work together and actually ended up arguing about whose job it is to help this child be successful.

Parent Teacher Conferences suck!

These kinds of things have actually been said.

Two years later, we talked about not only this students success, but his families success. His mom talked about how they are having family night once a week now, they do homework daily together, they discuss school each day, and they talk honestly about issues that teens face and she said “if it hadn’t been for you, my son would still be a mess and without that push you gave us, I wouldn’t know my own children the way I do now.  Thank you!”  And then, she hugged me! Not just any hug, either.  I am talking full on embracing with rocking and crying in joy.

We were both crying by this point and I was just so happy to hear what a difference I have been able to make, and to realize that no matter how frustrated I get some days, that I am doing what I was made to do.  It is not often a teacher gets these moments so early in their career and it was just much needed and so wonderful!

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6 Comments on “Parent-Teacher Conferences 2009”

  1. Jess Says:

    Now THAT is awesome and rewarding!!! There are very few jobs out there that will get you that kind of reaction!! Congratulations to you AND the family/child you helped! That is what it is all about!!!

    • jennieology Says:

      It was very uplifting and it really helped to remember that conference as I was talking to other parents and telling them about their children getting caught smoking the the bathroom and the like.

  2. Kori Says:

    And I imagine that is why you keep getting up every morning and doing it again, right? 🙂 Well, well done.

  3. Those are the ones you have to remember when the idiots get you down. My former teaching partner had parents that came in with a mission statement this year. Honest to God.

    • jennieology Says:

      Yeah, sometimes you wonder where these parents come from and are they talking about the same kids I am talking about?

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