Thursday, October 24, 2013

Parent Teacher Conferences Part II, Fall Break, And Anything Else IDecide to Discuss

I can't sit here too long this morning, because in an hour I have to take Butter to the doctor for his arm check up.  He got his cast put on last week, so they want to see him back just to make sure that everything is setting OK.

Which leaves me a little stressed to fit in all of the stuff I need to talk about...but I'll get it done.

So, I didn't give my Parent Teacher Conferences Part II update yesterday because I didn't get my behind out of bed until 5:45AM.  The night before was the second round of parent teacher conferences, but I didn't actually get home until midnight, so I was way too tired to get up early to blog about it yesterday morning.

The second night was just as awesome as the first night.  I got to meet all of my parents, minus two.. who I phone conferenced with instead.  One of those parents, however, I've met before so doing the phone conference was fine.  

All of the parents were happy with what I had to tell them, and some were even surprised to hear some of the progress their child had made.  

Hands down, best conference of the night though, goes to the parents of a child who were expecting bad news, because it's been a pretty tough year for their child...and this was not the first time we'd had to meet.

In fact, I've had to meet with the parents a couple of times already this year due to behavior issues or not turning in work or not putting in any form of effort in to the work.  

I decided to take a little risk, and get the conference started exactly how they thought it would go.  I drug out my stack of incomplete work I'd been saving, grade sheets that had a few zeros on it from not having work turned in, and writing samples that showed that there had been no care whatsoever.  What I didn't tell them, straight away, was that the stuff they were looking at I had been keeping for a while...and some of it was stuff they'd already seen before.

There was a reason for my starting the way I did.  It was what they were expecting.  The looks on their faces of disappointment and also not being surprised was exactly what I wanted before I hit them with the bombshell I had planned for them.

Their child had done their end of quarter testing, and had come up over 2 grade levels in both math and reading.  Not only that, but their child and I had made a secret pact a few weeks ago that her goal was to no longer have to go to extra pull-outs for help.  She wanted to be able to stay in the classroom, because she felt that she didn't really need the extra tutoring that she was getting.  And, I found out, was the cause for some of her rebellion that we'd been dealing with since school started.  In her mind, she was performing at the level she was considered to be.  If she was below grade level, her work should show that.  When we had a nice little chat about her abilities, and how she could turn everything around...she let me in on the secret that, in the beginning of the school year, she thought being pulled out for extra services meant she would get out of work.  She had pretty much rushed through the beginning of the year tests in order to get low scores in order to have those pull-out services.  When she found out that the kids that stayed behind didn't get "extra work", but were instead working on projects or homework or in small groups for reading...she decided she wanted to do that instead.

So, for the past couple of weeks, I'd been pumping her up ready for the next test and she was dead set on really showing her full potential.

The looks on her parents' faces when I showed them the new test scores were UNBELIEVABLE.  Shock.  Excitement.  Pride.  All rolled in to one...with a few tears.

Yes, I had been a little mean to them by kicking off the conference how they expected me to.  But, it made the turn around so much more dramatic and awesome when they got to hear how much their child had improved.

We discussed future plans, and I asked them to really push their happiness and show their excitement when they returned home.  I truly believe that we've seen the end of low grades, nonchalant work, and an unfocused attitude.... as long as they do their part to support and encourage her at home.

The last conference of the night was also another great conference to end it all.  A father sat in front of me with tears in his eyes when I showed him his child's grades, and they were all As and Bs...and I followed it up with how hard his child works, the devotion to the school work, and how much I truly loved having his child in my class.  I'm not quite sure if the tears were from shock, pride, or relief.. but he left extremely happy.  And that was exactly the way I wanted to wrap up the night.

After the conferences were all over, I spent a couple of hours in my classroom finishing up some paperwork.  Butter was at his last football game of the season, and I was expecting his return at any time.  What I didn't know what that the team had planned to stop and eat dinner on the way home, which bumped up their arrival time by an hour.  So, by the time I drove the high school, waited for 30 minutes, and then drove home, we didn't get back until midnight.  An EXTREMELY long night.  I was ready for my bed...and like I said earlier, didn't get out of it until 5:45 the next morning.

Yesterday was a great day that lead in to today.... FALL BREAK!!  For the next two days, and the weekend, I'm going to be home.  I have a ton of work to do, but I don't feel stressed or time deprived to get it done.  It's important for me to enjoy some of this break.

Butter is going off to my parents' house today, and will be spending fall break with them.  Peanut and I will be going to the last varsity football game tomorrow night with a couple of her friends that I've agreed to drive.  Other than that, no plans have been made except getting some cleaning done, working on my school stuff, and relaxing.

Right now, though, I really need to go jump in the shower so I can get Butter to his doctor's appointment.

Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone!!


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