A couple days ago I got to go through this annaul ritual as a parent. I got to listen to some praises and some criticisms of my kids. Let's turn the tables around shall we? Let's hear what the kids and I have to say about the teachers.
I met with the Algebra teacher because Diana is struggling.
Mr. W. you don't even have a single work sample to show me. I am asking you what patterns you have detected in her errors and where it indicates she is having the greatest difficulty and you are shrugging your shoulders. I never even had any idea until I got the report card that she was in danger of failing. Even the midterm progress report that all the teachers are required to send home gave no indication of this danger. Does your phone or email work? Thank you for your time. Diana says you go so fast everyone is confused. She says you are easily distracted and brought off topic. She also finds your fanatacism about the Philadelphia Eagles mildly disturbing. We'd like to see greater focus on your part, a more reasonable pace, and some actual ability to analyze student work. We can live with the Eagles, you are allowed to express that much individuality.
For my alloted 15 minutes, no more, no less, I faced the firing squad of 7th grade teachers on her team.
Mrs. D. (language arts) here, I have some clear packing tape. I am going to put it over your eyeballs so you can stop rolling them at every mention of my child. Thank you for the litany of complaints. I notice she hasn't missed any homeworks, all her test grades were good. She got an A-. What exactly must one do to get a compliment from you? Calypso says you never smile. Lighten up.
Ms. H. (social studies) you seem to have difficulty letting people finish a sentence. Hhhmm, seems I heard mention of that from a certain student of yours. You mention Calypso's lack of organization, yet you admit you've lost some homework assignments she turned in, so she had to do them twice. Hhhmm..... Calypso finds the way you constantly fiddle with your hair extremely distracting. Here's a nice hair net to keep it all in place and a filing cabinet to help your organization.
Mrs. C. (reading) was very concerned about the clock. I got there early, no one else was waiting, but it was very critical I wait until exactly when I was scheduled and get no more than my alloted 15 minutes. Your eyes were on your watch the entire time. Can you please focus for the 900 seconds I am here? Calypso digs that she gets a reading list from which to choose books and she likes the choices you offer.
Mr. H. (science) you poor guy. First year teacher, on a team with all these older ladies who are burned out and cynical. You have that shell-shocked look about you. You are also suffering the swooning affections of every 12-13 year old girl in your classes. With Calypso, it works to your advantage. She has a gigantic crush on you and wants desperately to please you. No wonder you have no complaints. Thank you for smiling. Here are some earplugs for when the other 3 teachers start bitching endlessly.
Mrs. J. (math) I was mildly annoyed that you were not here because I specifically asked to have this conference scheduled when you were available since I got phone calls about missing homeworks affecting grades. When you got here we had time away from the firing squad so it worked out. Yes, we all agree Calypso is not very organized, despite everyone's efforts to help her improve in this area. Thank you for not viewing it as a character flaw.
By the way, I told you all at the start of the year that she is not organized. Why are you acting like this a shock or as if it should be news to me? Given that she made the transition from 6th grade to 7th grade and having a different teacher for every subject, given that she is not an organized person, given that she did it in a brand new building that was no where near ready for students to be occupying it (3 of her classes did not even have DESKS in them for the first week of school and there are STILL construction workers swarming all over the place in November), and given that her lowest grade in any subject was an 89, I am, quite honestly, THRILLED with how well she did.
I met with one 4th grade teacher, Mrs. A.
He had Satan's spawn for a teacher last year. He did not want to go to school this fall. He cried. He begged me to homeschool him. When I found out he had you this year, I had hope. I have not been disappointed. He is doing creative writing in his free time again. He is drawing again. He comes home and tells me how cool the science experiments are that you do and then he wants to do them again. I like that you are experienced enough to be wise but not cynical. I like that you recognize students as unique individuals. He LOVES that you get his bizarre sense of humor. That's the way to his heart, but you already figured that out. You told me he has no intellectual peers in this class and that you want to make sure he gets all the challenge and stimulation he needs to fly. Can we please clone you a few times?