Today was the second day of parent/teacher conferences. I had five parents total, one of whom does not even have a student in any of my classes.
Those outside of the profession may not know it, but we teachers have an unwritten list of parent/teacher conference stereotypes. Let's see which ones came to my room.
1. Parent of Straight-A Student, who's "heard so much about [me] and wanted to meet [me] face-to-face."
2. Parent of Student Who Is Not Living Up to His Potential, who talks about "the importance of education" and who already has his grades printed out when she walks through the door, and who I absolutely know will ground that kid and keep his nose to the grindstone until his grades come up.
3. Parent of Student Who Works at One Extreme or the Other, who, when I say, "X's main problem seems to be her attitude," tells me that the attitude will no longer be a problem, as she is going to "go home and beat her ass."
(also) Parent Whose Child's Reason for Failing My Class Is "Ms. Flower Doesn't Like [Her]."
4. Parent Who Looks for Any Excuse Besides the Real One--Which Is That Her Daughter Is Lazy--and Offers Ten Thousand Excuses for Her Failing Grade, None of Which Require Her Daughter to Take Any Responsibility Whatsoever.
(also) Parent Who Walked into My Room at 6:00 and Stayed until 6:30.
(also) Parent Who Cannot Believe the Hard Work I am Requiring of Her Daughter (in this case, to read stories written on a ninth grade reading level)
(also) Parent Who Erases Every Bit of Progress I Have Made with Her Daughter by Saying to Her--IN FRONT OF ME--"I Know Reading Is Boring."
(also) Parent Who Wants a Report in Two Weeks before She Decides if "Something Needs to Be Done."
(though I can't imagine what COULD be done:
Transfer to another class? They're doing the same thing I am.
Test the kid for SPED? She's not stupid, just lazy.
Ask the Board to fire me? Suck it, I'M TENURED.)
Not represented here (THANK GOD):
Parent Who Yells at the Child in Front of Me
Parent Who Tells Me I'm a Bad Teacher
Parent Who Asks for Make-up Work from the First Quarter
Parent Who Explains that Student Needs Extra Time for Assignments on Account of "He's in two sports"
Parent Who Graduated with Me