Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's the big deal about organization anyway? Maybe he's just creative...

Today I had a parent/teacher conference with Goober's teacher. I dread parent/teacher conferences. Before my kids were of school age, I never thought I'd be the mom who hated parent/teacher conferences... but alas, things are never what you expect when it comes to children.

The first thing I hate about conferences is the fact that they're always scheduled at 7:30 in the morning.  I typically get the kids to school around this time (they don't have to be there until 8, but Munchkin demands socialization time) so it's not as if I'm not awake.  It's that I'm not awake.

At 7:30 the coffee has not had a chance to work its way through my system. It is all I can do to drive the kids to school without veering into a ditch and the kids' teachers expect me to be wide eyed, bushy tailed, dressed in something other than pajamas, and ready to listen to them tell me my kid sucks criticize my parenting tell me I suck talk about my child's strengths and weaknesses.

So yeah, that's the first thing I hate about parent/teacher conferences.

The second thing I hate about them is that they consistently tell me the same things that I've already read in notes, or noticed myself, or heard from other people already.  And I want to ask them why it's important that I come in and listen to them tell me these things to my face so I can bask in the humiliation of it all in person.

I can remember back to Bug's first parent/teacher conference in kindergarten.  It was no big deal.  Because, really, in kindergarten as long as your child doesn't eat paste or stab the other children with dull scissors, it's pretty much no big deal.  I figured we were off to a great start with school and patted myself on the back for a parenting job well done.

Unfortunately, things have changed over the years. I'm now fully aware that Bug is slow when it comes to writing, that he's disorganized, that he's melancholy, that he forgets to turn in assignments.  I know that Munchkin talks too much in class, has a hard time when she doesn't get her way, and can be bossy.  Shocking!

Today's conference wasn't all that bad.  Goober's in first grade now and I've learned that the conferences really don't start to get rough until about third grade.  But I did get to hear how polite he is, how he's disorganized, and how he's a strong reader.  Like a criticism sandwich.  They must hold teacher seminars on how to have these conferences because it always goes like that.  Compliment, criticize, compliment, sign paper, check.

The thing is, these are things I already know.  Yes, Goober is disorganized.  He's messy.  He's the kid who jams papers in his backpack sans folder and forgets to give me permission slips until the day before the field trip when his teacher finally threatens that he'll have to sit in the office while the rest of the class goes to the zoo.  I know all of these things.  He's like that everywhere.

Just once I'd like to sit down with their teacher and act shocked.

But Goober's room is spotless at home! He asked for file folders and a label printer for his birthday! We forced those LEGOs on him in an attempt to get him to think outside the box.

Yes, I know my kid is disorganized.  It's probably my fault because I'm disorganized.  Or maybe that's just how he is.  Maybe he's going to be an artist or a musician and his right brain is just too dominant for him to bother with petty little details like paperwork and color coded folders.

Or maybe he's just a disaster. But either way, I know.

Goober has two teachers.  One is considered his "homeroom" teacher and is where he reports in the morning and learns science and math.  The other teaches him reading and writing.  They played good cop, bad cop with me this morning.  His homeroom teacher told me how polite he is and how he hugs her and how he wants to please.  The reading teacher told me how he daydreams too much and how he won't finish assignments because he is scatter brained.  Then his homeroom teacher told me how he's so smart and above grade level.

Criticism sandwich, with two chefs.

And I smiled and nodded and signed. Check.