Two weeks ago we had parent teacher conferences. I worked at home and stayed with the kids so my wife could meet with 4 teachers. I don’t know about the rest of you parents, but for me these conferences always bring a little anxiety my way. I love my kids. I really enjoy who they are and believe in what they can become. Sitting down with their teachers and listening to a third party evaluation makes me nervous.
Where does this anxiety come from? Well, for sure it is rooted in my experience as a child. I remember sitting at home while my parents went to school to talk to my teachers. Every year same conversation…Alex is a really good student academically. I got straight O’s every time. Remember that…when we use to get O’s, S’s,or N’s (outstanding, satisfactory, needs improvement). Then my teachers would always say, “But…he talks to much in class. Never naps. Always keeps other kids up by telling them stories. He really needs to stop talking so much and disturbing the class.” How do I know all this? It was always written on my report cards.
I remember sitting and waiting anxiously till they got back wondering if I was gonna get in serious trouble or if they were gonna buy me some ice cream. Every year they came back and said nothing. Maybe it’s because they didn’t take their Korean-English Dictionary (read here for explanation) with them. Not sure. Did they not understand? Did they not care because I got straight O’s academically? Were they saving their anger for later?
With my kids I think most of the anxiety comes from the idea of someone sharing their evaluations of our kids. Do they like our kids? Do they believe in our kids? Do they care? Do they see the good? Do they only see the weaknesses? Maybe the anxiety comes from some hidden validation I seek from others that we are doing a good job as parents.
I am sure most of you are wondering what the teachers said about the kids. I will keep that confidential but they did get overall good reviews. We were proud. We learned about the areas they excel. We learned of areas that we need to work with our kids on. In the past any negative review would have crushed me as a parent. Actually any comment that wasn’t high praise would have killed me which would include vague, neutral comments like “your child learning and growing”.
I have learned to process these meetings better. Each year Parent Teacher Conferences have helped me not only learn about my kids but learn about myself and my wife. I would like to share a few of these things throughout this week. See you tomorrow.