Parent-Teacher Conference night is a strange and mysterious event for teachers, parents, administrators, and students.
It is a tremendous amount of work for teachers. They prepare weeks and days in advance, only to have meeting after meeting with moms and dads (best case scenario- everyone shows up at the proper time….. better case scenario- the mom voted most likely to scream at you in front of other parents doesn’t show up at all).
Parents hope that they hear good things about their child (nothing ruins an evening like finding out the 3rd grade teacher is convinced that your kid is headed for prison… likely after a lengthy crime spree).
Administrators hope that everything goes smoothly and they don’t have to mediate a dispute between a parent and teacher (nothing like being in the middle of an argument that 9 times out of 10 ends up with both sides questioning your manhood/womanhood/sanity).
Students with good grades and behavior love conferences (1%), other students consider it much like a trip to the dentist (other 99%). As a kid, you hope that you can keep your worlds separated… nothing worse than seeing your teacher and dad sharing information about you (nothing good can come out of this awkward and uncomfortable situation).
As a parent I don’t mind going to my child’s conference, but I do have a question. I go to talk about my kid, so why did the teacher babble on and on about this other student that I have never met?
Is the teacher making stuff up about this mysterious kid? Does she think I won’t notice the difference between my kid and this superhuman, overly polite, academic machine that she is telling stories about?
I say this not to question the teacher’s honesty or integrity. I say this because the child the teacher describes during our conference doesn’t bear any resemblance to my evil spawn who sleeps/eats/watches TV/and mooches off me in my house.
After sitting through 10 minutes of stories about this wonderful child I don’t know, I begin to wonder if the teacher has forgotten to take her medication.
Then it hits me like a ton of bricks. There can only be one answer. It is so obvious. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it 9 minutes ago. Aliens.
Evidently, somewhere between the junkyard she calls her room and the door of school; some sort of creature invades my daughter’s body and then spends the day making her do strange things in a sad attempt to impress people she hardly knows.
Examples of these strange things she is doing include: listening, being polite, getting her work done in a timely manner, sharing, playing with others, and raising her hand to gain permission before she speaks.
I found all of these things both strange and disturbing (I can assure you this is not how she was raised). I could go into more detail about her odd behavior, but it makes my head hurt and brings shame to the entire family.
The only consolation is that the aliens leave everyday about 3:10; they return her back to our family, unharmed and back to “normal”.
Maybe one day, these aliens will miss their bus and the teacher will actually get to meet my child and not this strange creature that sits in the back row of the classroom and quietly does her assignments.
Then we can actually have a Parent-Teacher Conference where we talk about my kid (and then if things go well, we could go out for ice cream).