Parent/Teacher Conferences:Modern Day Inconvenience

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Parent conference week. Oh joy. Another one of the mom duties I loathe. Today I mumbled and grumbled to myself as I drove midday to a meeting which I knew would last for 20 minutes. Yep, smack dab in the middle of the day. Good thing my daughter handed me the reminder slip over the weekend because I had no idea I was to be there. I was however thrilled that it was actually on my day off. I have always wondered and had real sympathy for the parents who have to get time off of work for these cute little face to faces with the teacher. Seriously, the school can’t figure out a better way to communicate with parents. Not only are they scheduled midday weekday but they also do not want you bringing your kid with you. Well that’s just great. Add complications to the mix. Hey school teachers and principals there is this new technology, it’s called facetime. It’s a nifty way to communicate from two different locations and it doesn’t require me to leave my office or find childcare for our 20 minute meetup where you show me a worksheet or two and tell me how well my child is doing or if necessary where my child is struggling. Maybe next year you can figure out that would be an efficient way to conquer this ever so important 20 minutes. Just a thought.

Teachers and school district, here’s the deal; If my child is having any problems I expect to know long before a scheduled conference. As for this conference, the reason I didn’t remember that I had it until the note came home is that I actually signed up for it on back to school night. That was convenient but did I remember something I signed up for two months ago on a busy back to school night while I was multi-tasking listening to the teacher ramble in one ear about reward systems and field trips while on a webinar in the other ear standing on the porch of the classroom? No. I didn’t have a clue I had signed up.

Teachers have enough on their plate and are grossly underpaid to influence a whole bunch of kids daily. They have a huge influence on their lives and I am ever so grateful for their patience and dedication to the next generation. They need ease just as I much as the parents do.

But my child (and every other student) has an entire week of half day attendance so the teachers can meet with each parent in person. That means the students are missing twelve hours of instruction during conference week. Which means in addition to getting childcare for the 20 minutes of conference time, we also have to find care for the additional non school hours. May not seem like a big deal to some, but try telling your boss that you will be taking the week off after lunch each day and then see how big of a deal it becomes. Let us add the Friday before conference week off for Veterans Day, a week of half days and then the following week, the whole week off for Thanksgiving break. Remind me why we are having school again in November?

My feeling is this. No news is good news. I see the smiley faces on my child returned homework sheets. Cool. If I start seeing frownies, I expect a call. Then we can make adjustments. But either way, what I do not need is to sit with the teacher in the middle of the day and figure out who will take care of my child extra hours for a whole week when this could easily be accomplished on an as needed basis over the phone with me and every other working parent, single or not.

It is the 21st century, you are teaching common core and mental math how about catching your child reporting procedures up to the speed with your instructional processes.

Give us parents a break. And administrators, make things less complicated, not more.

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