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Why I Cried At The Parent-Teacher Conference

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Monday was Alex’s kindergarten parent-teacher conference (they got delayed two months due to Sandy) and something his teacher told us made me tear up…

I was feeling a little nervous and a little excited (and a little old—how can I have a kindergartner already?!) as we rolled up. We were told at back-to-school night early in the school year that if there was a problem, we’d hear about it. We haven’t heard a peep so we weren’t expecting bad news, per se, but Alex is spirited and energetic and a tad handsy with his friends so we just weren’t sure what she'd tell us. Well, the conference couldn't have gone better. His teacher said he is a sweet kid with a great heart, great manners and that he is such a good friend to the other kids in the class and a big helper (if anyone drops their books or needs help cleaning up, he steps in). It was just what we wanted to hear.

Then she said that when the class is out on the playground, if Alex sees a kid not playing with anyone, he’ll ask the kid to play with him and the others. She said that that means so much to her and I couldn’t help but tear up. I think Nick did, too. Honestly, it made me happier and prouder than any of the great academic reports he got*. With all the crazy bullying and terrible mean-kid stories you hear, this was the best feedback I could have gotten. We know our kid can be rambunctious and even the teacher said his good heart and concern for others sometimes equals too much talking, but we are just so happy that he’s a nice, compassionate human. Who cares if he writes his 7s and Js backwards?

Have you had your parent-teacher conferences yet? I know this is just kindergarten and we have many more to go and I know they will get more intense (and likely not always be so positive), but for now I’m breathing a sigh of relief. And I’m feeling very proud.

*Because Alex sometimes writes a few of his numbers backwards (so not a big deal I know; no one is concerned) the teacher said we could create a number bar and have him look at it when he writes his numbers. It’s a great idea and it’s on my to-do list. In the meantime…this morning when Nora and I got back from the bagel store (it was that kind of morning) we saw Alex sitting at the breakfast table writing out his numbers and guess what Nick gave him to use as a guide? The TV clicker. Classic.