Parenting Progress Report

report-cardThe automated call came:

Hello parents and students. Parent/teacher conferences will be held Monday. Teachers will be in the cafeteria from 4-6 pm and in their classrooms from 7-9 pm. Come find out if you’re succeeding as a parent, or stinkin’ it up.

I added that last part, but that’s pretty much how parent/teacher conferences feel for parents, right?

We can’t help but equate how we’re doing as parents on some level by the academic performance of our children, which is a terrible barometer really. I mean, two of my children do very well in math and there’s no parental or genetic reason to explain it.

The one who stinks at math is understandable because she’s the result of parent/child exchanges like this:

“Do your math homework! Your grade is terrible in that class.”

“No! I don’t get it and you can’t help me because you don’t get it, and I’ve heard you say you never used that crap in real life anyway.”

Definite “Bad Mom Award” there.

The fact is, you can find out how your kids are doing in school anytime by going online to PowerSchool, so why even have PT conferences? Well, I believe there’s value in face-to-face interaction between the parties invested in shaping the future generation. So I go to see how my kids—and I—are doing.

With two kids in high school this year, I had twelve teachers to see in two hours. I was determined to do it all during the cafeteria hours because going to each classroom is annoying. Yeah, my kids do it everyday, but they’re young, spry and legally required.

When I go to PT conferences I usually make my kids come with me. If they’re doing well, it’s good for them to hear praise directly from their teachers. If they’re tanking, then it’s good for them to hear from an outside party that their mother is right. My daughter couldn’t come this time because she had to work and my son was refusing to go, but not because his grades were bad.

His reasoning was, “Mom, I’m getting all A’s and a B+ so all my teachers are going to say, ‘Your son is pretty awesome!’ which I already know so I don’t need to go.”

I explained to him that it might be nice to hear his teachers say he’s pretty awesome in person and in front of his mother, but apparently his ego is sufficiently inflated.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to all twelve teachers, but the ones I talked to did tell me my kids are pretty awesome, which is nice to hear from others every once in a while. Their opinion isn’t tainted by knowing what their bedrooms look like, or how many times they have to be reminded to bring the garbage can up from the road.

So, for now, I feel like a good parent.

I don’t know that I deserve it necessarily, but I’ll take it anyway. I’ll need it the next time I call my son to tell him I’m coming to pick him up at a friend’s house and he tells me not to get out of the car if I’m wearing exercise clothes.

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