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The Joy of Parent/Teacher Conferences

I love parent/teacher conference time. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. As an elementary school student I enjoyed talking to my parents when they came home with glowing reports of my academic and social excellence. As a keener and a hard core pleaser, there was nothing I liked more than to hear about how much my teacher liked me and exactly which ways I was exceeding her wildest expectations for a student of my age and station.

Now I like conferences and progress reports for a slightly different reason. I love hearing from a teacher who spends a large chunk of time with my child and reaffirms my conclusions about what that child is capable of and where she is headed socially and academically. It’s fun to talk to someone else who’s invested in my child’s education and to hear her tell stories that make me smile and nod and say, “That’s my baby.”

So far Laylee’s shown herself to be intensely awesome academically. She craves perfection and will settle for nothing less than her best. Sometimes her perfectionism slows her down when, for example, the teacher asks her to draw a picture of her family and she feels she must draw each family member in painfully exact detail standing in the living room with light fixtures and wall hangings in place in the background. She reads well above grade level and is always intent on learning more than is being taught on any given subject. Her main problem at school is boredom. However, she’d never tell her teacher she was bored. She’s too busy trying to be the model of the perfect student.

I’ve heard the following from her mouth: “Did you know that Sarah doesn’t always show respect by looking at Miss Snop every time she’s talking?!” The. Nerve.

Miss Snop mentioned at the parent/teacher conference that Laylee always pays attention and is absolutely consistent about making eye contact whenever the teacher is instructing the class. This made me smile. I picture Laylee sitting as close to the front as possible, her eyes glued to Miss Snop, her face beaming up at her in admiration, only occasionally looking away just long enough to notice the untoward behavior of her fellow classmates.

Everything she said about Laylee spoke to me. That’s my daughter.

Magoo’s preschool teacher didn’t offer conferences, but she did send home a progress report and it was spot on. Although Magoo doesn’t fully know his alphabet, he is doing great in school, doing incredibly well socially and is “well-liked by his peers.” He’s a 4-year-old that will walk into a room with hands in the air, a grin on his face, and body language that just screams, “What’s UP?! Magoo’s in the houuuuse!”

Every day he comes home and tells me about how class went. He loves school. He loves learning. He loves his friends. He rarely plays with the same kid twice in a given week because he just loves everyone so MUCH. I see that joy and excitement for life and it’s infectious. So he can’t ever remember the actual letters that make up ellemenopee in the middle of the alphabet? So what!? Magoo’s brand of charisma cannot be learned.

It’s refreshing to have teachers who see in my children what I see, and who care about giving them great experiences with learning. Their strengths are different but I love that they’re both valued for who they are.