The Parent Teacher Conference As A Parent, Not A Teacher

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I was a teacher, so Parent Teacher Conferences used to mean really long days, high heels, eating snacks from my desk between visits, and more than my fair share of no-shows. It’s a junior high thing.

But now I’m on the other side of the table. And this table is small. My butt was almost too big for the preschool chair. And I looked into the eyes of the awesome woman teaching my daughter, and I knew it wasn’t easy for her to open Adelaide’s folder.

Addie didn’t reach any of her academic goals. None. She can’t identify shapes or colors or her name. She can’t even point. She didn’t reach any of her IEP goals. She’s only been in school for one month.

Even though we are all on the same page about just how far behind Adelaide is, it doesn’t make it any easier to say, “She still can’t do any of these things.” Not in those words, of course. Ms. Samantha is a veteran teacher and mom. She’s knows how to cushion the blow.

But I’ve been on the other side and I know how you go on and on about the joyful personality and eagerness to learn and sweet disposition when there isn’t any other progress to discuss.

So I kept smiling and doing this weird thing where I talk for Adelaide. Like I’m reading her mind. I do it when I’m really nervous. Putting words in her nonverbal mouth. I don’t know why I do it…but I can’t stop myself.

We also discussed Adelaide’s snacks, diapers, and chewing. We talked about her therapy schedule. And we left with a folder of stuff we can work on at home. Stuff I’ve been trying to teach her for almost 4 years.

Our conference was pleasant and down-to-earth and rough and I almost cried after I dropped Dave off at work.

It hit me, in that tiny chair, that my daughter is in the 2nd percentile. And she’s in a self-contained class.

And I suck it up buttercup and laminate those color flashcards they sent home. I have five sets of my own, but I’ll use the ones they use at school for some consistency.

And then I eat an ice cream cone, which doesn’t help at all. And certainly won’t help me better fit into that preschool chair at our next meeting.

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