During the conference itself, I am in basically in one of two states- holding back tears, or full out crying. It doesn't matter if the child is doing great with one two areas for improvement (you know the teacher must come up with something, even for that perfect child to work on), or if the child is failing to meet basic standards. I'm a wreck.
There is nothing like the conference to make you feel downright vulnerable (only thing worse- the dreaded IEP meeting!). There, on paper, is this cold, unfeeling, objective look at your child. As you look at her successes and failures, I want to tell the teacher- sure this child is a little behind in this area- but do you know how far she has come?! Just a few seconds ago, she was a little baby, unable to even sit up on her own and now here she is, reading a novel! Or, just yesterday this child flew on an airplane to meet her mother for the first time and never even held a crayon, much less count backwards from 10 in a foreign language! Do you know we didn't know if this boy would live or die just two and half years ago? So what if he still has a pacifier!
Should the teacher complement my child on some academic or social achievement, well, here comes the waterworks! This proud mama is bursting with pride. Yes, yes, I taught her that! It seems just yesterday I had to spank her because she insisted on running into the street while laughing in rebellion- now look- she is Student of the Month!
Oh my. This week I will be reflecting on all I have managed to teach my children, and all I have yet to teach. I have one conference down, two to go. I will come in with a list of things to discuss, and leave with maybe addressing just one, because that is really all I can take. I will second guess myself, and congratulate myself.
Sweet Teacher, go easy on me. These are my babies, my precious children. I have poured every fiber of myself into them. When you are tough on them, you are tough on me. When you express understanding, it is my heart that melts. Thank you for all you do. And please pass the Kleenex.