Conference Call

We had teacher conferences this week. Which meant half days and lots of play dates to keep the boys occupied. At least that’s what Bryna tells me. I was at the conferences but try to avoid being home during afternoon play dates. Yesterday I had to pick something up at the house and ended up getting sucked into pitching a wiffle ball for 20 minutes before I could get out of there again.

The conferences are always interesting. Whenever I go into the classroom, part of me reverts back to feeling like a 2nd or 4th grader. But a really tall one. You sit down at a table across from the teacher and jam yourself into one of those miniature chairs. It actually makes me feel like Gulliver. It’s always nice to hear that your kids are polite and respectful somewhere. It’s certainly not always the case at home. There’s undoubtedly something they can improve on — math facts or holding the pencil correctly. But it’s a relief to know they’re not biting other children or stapling their lips together.

Teaching is really an amazing calling. I’ve been so impressed with the boys’ teachers — they’re patient and kind, not arrogant, boastful or rude. (Wait, that’s something else — too many weddings this fall). But the passion and energy and commitment to the children is great. I also know I could never do it. A classroom full of 4th graders would eat me alive. Like sharks, they’d smell fear and chew me to pieces. So kudos to all the teachers out there — especially the ones who’ve survived fall conferences with pushy parents.

It’s amazing to think that as over-protective and over-involved as parents are these days in their children’s lives, there’s this huge hunk of the day where we have no idea what’s going on. The usual answer to the question, “How was school today?” is “Fine.” Oh. “What’d you do today?” “Nothing.” Most kids dole out the precious information their parents ask about school on a need to know basis. And we evidently need to know nothing. The CIA is less secretive about their activities in Nicaragua than Ben and Zack are about their elementary school goings-on.

I continue to pry and occasionally get a small nugget. The conferences help; once I’m finally able to get back out of that doll-house sized chair.


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