October 15, 2008

Parent Conferences

I know it's been a while since my last post, but I have been busy saving the world! :) OK, I've really been busy preparing for my first parent-teacher conferences, which took place last night and today. I am happy to say that I have survived... one more notch in my teaching belt!

My conferences went very smoothly. I have great students this year, and that resulted in pleasant conversations with the vast majority of parents. For this, I am thankful!

There was though, one conference that has been tugging at my heart strings. There is a student on our team this year who clearly has too much on his plate. This particular student is in the honors math and language arts program, runs cross country, plays club hockey, and has decided to take on a foreign language and a new musical instrument this year. As you can imagine, this is a lot to maintain for your average middle school student (especially with such a demanding 7th grade curriculum in this district), but this student also has some emotional/behavioral concerns. To make a very long story short, our team agrees that this child's behavior needs to be addressed, and we believe that his overwhelming load has caused a lot of unnecessary stress. We, as a team, agree that we are not meeting his needs in the honors math and language arts programs.

I can't tell you how hard it was to break this news to an already-stressed mom. She has been receiving phone calls from teachers since the beginning of the year, but I think this conference was the first time she was really forced to face the issues. I felt for her... I really did. It must be so hard to hear your child's teachers say that he just can't cut it. It must be devastating to have to go home and relay that information to your child. All I could do was assure her that we're doing this because we care. I hope that message was received.

We put so much pressure on our kids to succeed. I sometimes worry that our expectations of "success" need to be adjusted. Sometimes, kids just need to be kids. It's okay if they aren't earning straight A's, taking every honors class, or finishing their cross country meets in first place. When did "average" take on a negative connotation?


  1. I definitely think that society's expectations of success need to be adjusted, and you gave a perfect example of the pressure parents feel and then push on to their children. I agree, whatever happened to average not being ok?

  2. i wish this was the problem i was facing sometimes. i know that both sides of the coin are bad, but if i had one parent who wanted her kid to be EXCELLENT instead of just reaching the bar, i'd be ecstatic. but i do understand where you're coming from - my upbringing was kind of like that :)