Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 28 2010

Pros and Cons of PTCs

Cons of parent-teacher conferences:

*Telling your mother, for the zillionth time, that you’re very smart but have stopped smiling, behaving, or doing any work for any of your teachers. Worrying that something is deeply wrong with you, but listening to your mom say the same empty things over and over again about how you have to shape up. Watching you stare at the floor and not respond.

*Showing your mom the failing grades that you get from being one of the main ringleaders in my bad class and putting in little effort. Then showing her the standardized test scores that prove you are actually really good at math but are using your brains to do harm. Listening while mom talks about your 18-year-old brother in prison (the kids say he killed a cop) who was never as smart as you are and who regularly writes letters begging you to stay in school. Watching your face while we talk about this over you.

*Showing your mother your consistently low grades, which won’t go up no matter how hard you try. Being unable to honestly tell her that you’re good at math but just not putting in the effort.
*Getting yelled at by your mom because I didn’t call sooner about your failing grades, even though last time I called she told me she couldn’t do anything about it.

Pros of parent-teacher conferences:

*Getting to tell your mother that you’re a genius at math and an incredible student, and I take your work to my math teacher meetings to show off. (I gave you the pattern 0, -7, -26, -63,… and you identified it as [-n^3] + 1? The other teachers barely believed me.)  I have nothing else to say except that I can’t wait to see your face in the paper for doing big things one day.

*Showing your parents how much you’ve grown in math, and how you aren’t failing anymore because you diligently do work and ask questions. Watching your face light up when you tell them how smart you feel.

*Telling your mom that you’re great some days and start failing when you pick up that horrible attitude. Having your favorite teacher back me up, telling your mom that I’m doing a great job and you shouldn’t hate me. Getting a hug from you after school the next day, because you aren’t so bad after all.

*Telling your mom and sister that you misbehave because you think I hate you, but I really like you and miss the days when we got along. Saying it in Spanish in front of you, so that in school the next days you’re telling the other students how cool my accent is (you’ve probably never heard a non-Mexican speak Spanish) and finally being friendly to me because you trust that you couldn’t push me away.

Worth the extra zillion hours after school? Yeah, probably.

One Response

  1. I don’t know how you even survive this job. I’m so proud of you.

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