As if the end of November and start of December aren't busy enough, not only did I have report cards due the Monday after Thanksgiving, but I had parent teacher conferences lined up the following Friday!
So here I am thinking, You need to remain calm. You've spoken to most of these parents before. Now you have some grades to back up what you're saying. And they're permanent. CRAP!
I must really take after my Lola Anama. I've heard numerous tales of how tough she was as an educator because she demanded the best from her students. I mean, really, you wouldn't want a C student doctor taking care of you or your loved ones would you? And no, of course these second graders aren't doctors, not yet, but they are being held to high expectations from this novice teacher.
My list of expectations aren't much. Listen while I or the person I have selected to read or speak are talking. Do the work that I have allotted for during in class time - IN CLASS! Read for twenty minutes a night. Keep your hands to yourself. Don't speak out of turn - I am really fair about calling on people to answer or read - honest! Keep your hands to yourself. Learn when it's learning time so we can have fun (a reward). Keep your hands to yourself. Oh, sorry, I've said that already.
So I have report cards done. I have handouts ready. I just am nervous. The first time I did parent teacher conferences was under the supervision of my mentor teacher, Lynna. I didn't do anything - except for speak broken Spanish to the parents of our only Spanish speaking student while waiting for the interpreter to show up. I sat there. I nodded. Occasionally I spoke about the Writer's Notebook, the gem in my arsenal of teaching. Lynna showed me how to start of with a positive, go to what needs to be worked on, and end with a positive. So I knew that would be what needed to be said.
On top of all this, I had a flight to catch. I asked if I could schedule my conferences on a different day - my parents are ALL flexible - to no avail. I could schedule them earlier - and for one hour longer - so that I could leave by four to catch my 7 o'clock flight. I e-mailed the parents. I sent out a pre-conference survey - just so I had background with what parents wanted to discuss (BTW only six parents responded) and I ended up with a two hour free period between the early parents and the ones who wanted to show up within the original time parameters.
Conference times run ten minutes. If you had more to discuss sign up for two spots. My first conference was with two parents whom I adore. It lasted an hour...over that actually. My second didn't show. So my new second was a colleague whose son is a student. That was tough. The kid is great but this was my FIRST CONFERENCE as a solo teacher...ugh. It went well though. She seemed happy. Life moved on. The third conference was another parent I enjoy working with. This was going to be a good day.
Then I hit my last conferences. I was nervous but they turned out good too...and so here I am a bit ahead - two parents skipping, the earlier one who skipped in the morning having shown up later, and I have one more parent left...where IS he?!?!?!? Should I get ready? The admin assistant said, YES! Go get ready so you can leave AT FOUR! So I go, pack up, use the washroom, and sure enough, as I am ready to close my door, I see the dad coming up...with son in tow...CRAP!
So I stay, I stay and talk...and twenty minutes later, I get ushered out the door by the admin assistant and get into my car...an hour and a half later I'm at the airport ready to go see my good friends get married in Nebraska. I am READY for the weekend!
Thanks for listening...I hope my post-observation meeting goes as well as parent teacher conferences! A novice teacher could dream.