It’s finally spring! Time for longer days, warmer weather and parent/teacher conferences.
In our school district, spring parent/teacher conferences only happen at the elementary school level. With one in middle school now, I almost got to skip this annual event. Almost. My third grader insisted that I attend his, despite it being optional. Optional, but encouraged, as proven by the school emails and not-so-subtle reminders from my son, who was instructed by his teacher to remind me more than once.
For those who don’t know, the spring conference is a face-to-face progress report of sorts. The teacher informs you of your child’s most recent learning assessment scores and shows you some of your child’s assignments (many of which you’ve already seen because they needed parental assistance at home — read my post about that here). Each parent is given a 15-minute slot in the teacher’s schedule. Quick and easy, in and out, but fingers crossed you don’t follow someone who’s (a) a windbag, (b) tardy, or (c) the parent of a struggling student (since those discussions aptly require more than 15 minutes).
I had resolved to skip this unnecessary meeting. After all, I review my son’s homework nightly and ask him questions daily so I feel that I am already aware of his progress. Nonetheless, he insisted. Maybe there was something I didn’t know that his teacher was going to tell me, I thought. So like a good parent, I booked my 15-minute meeting and marked my calendar accordingly.
Here’s how it went down when the conference day arrived:
- I didn’t have time to shower after the gym (It was either shower or eat lunch … I chose lunch), so I did a quick “wash down,” swiped on some deodorant, added a touch of lip gloss and ran out the door
- It took 8 minutes for me to drive to school
- It took another 2 minutes to park my car and walk to the classroom
- I listened to my son’s teacher for exactly 15 minutes while sitting in a very low, uncomfortably small chair (FYI, he’s doing great, as I already knew)
- It took 2 minutes to walk back to my car
- It took 8 more minutes to drive home
All in, I spent more time traveling to and from the meeting than I did attending it, and the teacher didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know … Ugh, what a waste! If I had a child who was struggling in school, then the spring parent/teacher conference would be more useful and I’d eagerly attend. But I don’t have a struggling student, thankfully. And if I did, I sincerely hope that the teacher wouldn’t wait until late March/early April to tell me about it.
So while I didn’t learn anything new about my third grader’s education, I did learn something … Spring parent/teacher conferences are for suckers. Thank goodness I didn’t shower for it.