We held parent - teacher conferences in the afternoons this week. Only 4 remaining for next week. The conversations flowed smoothly and I learned so much. For the most part I came away each day marveling at how much these parents want to 'dig in' and do what ever it takes to give their children success at school; even those who speak limited English and those for whom it is a continual challenge to pay the rent and have food on the table. I have a lot of faith in this year's parents, they seem sincere and willing to follow through on my suggestions. There are a couple of exceptions such as the boy whose mother said he didn't listen to her at home either unless she 'held a stick'. Well, needless to say, I'm not going to walk around my classroom with a big stick! In fact, the Family Support Worker will be on the lookout for parenting classes for that mom. Then there are the fun stories: The boy whose mom was 'blown away' when, as struggling to ride up a hill on his bike, her 5 year old said: "I just have to use my persistance like Mr. Nelson said." (Our principal, Mr. Nelson, had read The Little Engine That Could to the class and taught the word persistance.) The parents who anxiously asked, "Is he talking about having a brother .....because he doesn't have one. It was something of a problem at his previous school. He had everyone convinced that he had a brother who had died a terrible death and each time the story changed a little but it was always full of tragedy and he was convincing to both children and adults." Boy, were they happy when I said I had not heard of any brother, imaginary or other wise. The mother who asked her son what he wanted her to relay to me and he offered this list:
1. More toys (NO more space for this one and we are fairly well stocked.)
2. We need to share more of our work when we do a good job. (That's do-able.)
3. Tell Mrs. Goethe I love her!
The family facts that come out: Two moms are expecting babies, one this month and one in Feb. Two Dads are wedding photographers. Another dad is in play production and makes stages. That was a real 'score'! We asked for pieces of pine cut to certain dimensions for our hammering lesson in Science and lo and behold 60 precisely cut pieces of wood were delivered 2 days later. The Camdodian mom who tried to teach me how to bow and say "Good bye." During that conference I also learned that the necklace around her daughter's neck was an elephant tooth and considered a blessing. The mom of my most energetic, 'drama queeen' 5 year old, says her daughter crashes into a deep sleep for about 3 hours everyday after school! The mom who said her son is totally fascinated with finding and making patterns. Even at the dinner table he makes comments such as, "I am eating in an AB pattern; a bite of peas, a bite of meat, a bite peas, a bite of meat." The parents who told me that their son loves school but says he sometimes gets "homemissed".
And now I am ready to rest my vocal cords and enjoy my weekend.