On my agenda this week are parent-teacher interviews with those who teach my two high school-aged kids.
In the early years, I would look forward to these joyous occasions as they reinforced my confidence in parenting. That was back when comments like “he always demonstrates consideration for his peers by helping during work, play and clean-up time” or “correctly recognizes most of the letters of the alphabet at random” were noteworthy accomplishments. I really pine for the days when U meant Usually. Nevertheless, the importance of communication between parents and teachers should not be underestimated.
I’ve had school-age kids now for approximately 14 years now (if you include pre-school) (please do) so I’ve endured enjoyed my share of parent-teacher interviews with the educators of my three kids’. The typical interview (which is a funny term, really; I come away feeling less like I got a job and more like I got served) is only 15 or so minutes, but I find teachers are not always so quick to cut to the chase about my kids’ strengths and weaknesses and tend to approach the truth from all angles. I usually look at Life, and my kids in particular, through rose-coloured glasses so it took me a few years to realize that “boisterous” was not a critical learning proficiency and “distracting” was not a compliment on their appearance. There are subliminal messages buried in those comments when read backwards. I’m just kidding about that – my kids have never been taught by Satan. Well, not since that brief but disastrous homeschooling experiment anyway. I am now doublespeak-literate and consider myself to be edu-lingual. I can now set aside the Dictum for Dummies book for I am now well aware that when a teacher informs me,
“He has such an extensive vocabulary” it really means he needs to stop swearing within earshot of the teacher.
“He has a strong future in medicine!” it probably means his penmanship sucks or his body is about to be donated to science (dead or alive).
“She is a gifted and prolific debater” means she needs to shut up once in a while.
“Attention to appearance and personal hygiene is of vital importance” means he should to take a shower after PhysEd … or … hall passes are reserved for emergencies of which hair-brushing is not considered to be one.
“He is exceptionally creative!” means he came up with yet another stunning excuse as to why his homework wasn’t done.
As you can see, I’ve gleaned quite a bit from the report cards I’ve read and interviews I’ve attended. Considering I have about 110 report cards and some 38 interviews or so on which to reflect upon, perhaps there is a market for certified comment decipherers.
Another interesting report card observation: did you ever notice that the space on report cards for parent/guardian commends on student achievements, goals, and home support shrinks from a full page in grade school to about an eighth of a page in high school? Does this have anything to do with the fact that a smiley face emoticon takes up much less space than a diatribe? Or that a big thumb’s up at the conclusion of a parent-teacher interview really just about says it all? Always keeping us on our toes, those teachers 🙂 !!
Dare to share? What’s the best teacher comment your child received?