…is the day off afterwards!
Here I am on a Friday, sitting in my sweats, watching my favorite shows on Hulu, eating pumpkin donuts for a late breakfast.
All teachers know about the dreaded Parent-Teacher conferences. After a full day of teaching, we still have another 6 hours at the school. Teachers sit around the gym and parents race from desk to desk to desk grabbing their child’s progress report. More often than not, it is the parents with the perfect kids who come and demand what more their child can do (nothing, they’re already perfect) rather than the parents who should come. Last year, I had about a 30% attendance rate. Most who didn’t show were parents of students who were struggling and/or needed parental support in their studies and their behavior. It broke my heart to see how few parents were involved with their children’s education. Not only that, but knowing that many parents gang up to blame the teacher for the child’s disrespect, misbehavior, and poor grades. I was talking to a teacher friend who is in her early 30s and we decided that we are always going to hold the blame: When we were kids, it was our fault if we didn’t do our work and misbehaved and our parents punished us. Now that we’re teacher, it’s our fault if our students are doing poorly and misbehave and their parents want to punish us.
That is why I absolutely love love love working at a charter school! (I’m not against public school…it’s just that there are a lot of downsides and more often than not, downward trends with public.)
Yes, I have fewer students, which means fewer parents, but parents send their children to charter schools for a reason. Which means, they care. And are involved.
Because the families for my charter school come from all over the Jordan, Taylorsville, Sandy area, we had two nights of Parent-Teacher Conference to accommodate transportation and work schedules. So, Wednesday, I left home at 6:30AM and didn’t get back till almost 9PM. Yesterday, 6:30AM-8PM. But, I had a 75-80% attendance rate with my parents!!! Teacher’s dream come true!
Of course while all the elementary teachers had private, individual appoints, all the junior high teachers were in our “mulit-purpose room.” There are only 10 of us who teach all junior high kids, so it wasn’t chaotic at all. It was very organized, with lines of chairs so parents could sit as they waited. There was actually enough time to discuss academics, behavior, and examples of work for each student! It was wonderful!
I loved being able to meet the parents of my students–other teachers were able to recognize them right off the bat (due to the small but tight community at Navigator Pointe). I am very excited to get to that point. Each parent was very thankful of me coming to teach. Many mentioned that their kids loved my class. That made me feel ecstatic–not only did that mean I was a good teacher, but that also meant these parents wanted to know what their students were learning. Many families mentioned they discussed the books we read together over the dinner table and are reading along or are going to rent the movie afterward. They were very excited to see that I was catching on to their children’s strengths and personalities and how I was helping them to develop it more. They were excited to hear the effort their child made in my class in learning, especially the new 7th grade families (we have a rigorous grammar and writing program that students do since like 1st grade, so coming to the school as a 7th grader automatically puts you behind your classmates). When we talked about weaknesses of the student, whether academic or behavior-wise, the parents were very understanding and agreeable. They didn’t glare or yell at their students (like some did in front of me last year), but smiled and said softly, “Yes, we will work on that.”
To the Parents of Navigator Pointe Academy in West Jordan, Utah:
I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have been fantastic parents. You are supportive of your child first and foremost. You are supportive of the teachers. You are excited to see all that they have learned. You want to help them achieve their full potential. You put so much time and effort into serving our school, helping it run the best it can. You are wonderful cooks, providing the best dinner and desserts I have had as a teacher. You make such sacrifices to come to Parent-Teacher Conferences when many of you work and have to drive 30 minutes on Bangerter Highway and have to deal with construction on both of the only ways into the road our school is on. You are the type of parent I want to be. You are shining examples to the rest of the parents in the country. Thank you so much for making my job so enjoyable and so fun! Thank you for sharing your children with me!