Thursday, March 18, 2010

Parent Teacher Conferences Vent

What a day from hell!! My alarm is set for 5:30, but of course for the longest day of the school year, Lincoln wakes up at 4:30am. I tried my best to get him back to sleep, and finally did at about 5am, struggled to close my eyes again, and finally gave up at 5:15. I told Maddy last night to set her alarm for 5:45, but it went off at 5:30 and I heard her moving around upstairs, so I'm thinking: Great Job! Well, when 5:55 rolled around and she still wasn't downstairs dressed, I went to investigate...of all mornings, do you know she went back to sleep?! She actually snoozed her alarm clock and I was in the middle of me screaming, "MADISON ARE YOU KIDDING ME?", when Barbie chimed in: "Come on Barbie girl, it's time to wake up". Seriously?

Then Linky doesn't want to get up. I was supposed to be out the door by 6:30, we didn't get in the car until 6:51. I rushed to drop off Link and then Maddy, and then sat in traffic for almost 40 minutes (normally takes 23). The highlight of my day? Pulling into the school parking lot and getting one of the last two spaces left.

I get into the guidance office to continue to go through my senior case load to call students down that may not be graduating - fun stuff, I know! Then as with any time the retirees come in to help me she finds another kid who's missing a class to graduate. I call him down, find out he's ESL and didn't "understand" that he had to sign up for Saturday and Evening classes. I had to do some running around to see what we could do, and the bell was ringing for me to teach class. I had to leave him in the hands of the other counselors. My greatest fear as the lone grade advisor is that one of my 450+ seniors won't graduate and it will be all my fault. The stress of that has been driving me crazy that past few weeks. I have such an appreciation for guidance counselors now and can't wait for my counselor to return from maternity leave.

I couldn't even teach my boys class today with so much work on my plate, I gave them quiet time to assess the reading (we're reading Dreams From My Father) for our upcoming test and peer discussion. While they did that I tried working on their mentoring program. Basically, I have to chose 6 of the boys in the program to become mentors to the other boys in the class. It is becoming quite the task trying to figure which mentors for which students during which periods. I met separately with my AP today, a member of the program office, and the librarian to get this rolling. I needed the AP to approve the fact that I wanted the boys to get a full credit for the mentoring and a grade, which I would need to have a code created to be placed on their programs, which I would need the librarian to co-sign on allowing them the space and responsibility for signing them in and out every day. All of this I accomplished before 12pm!

For 9th and 10th period, you know how much I despise those two periods, we read a few lines of Julius Caesar and then I had them also peer discuss questions about the play. Now it's 4pm and I have to mentally prepare myself for the parents. Since I have no guidance counselor, I have to set up in my guidance office so that my English parents can meet with me and my senior case load parents as well. That's when little Micky Mouse came to visit me on my desk and sent me running out of the office. That little sucker flew off the fricken table to get away from my screaming!!! The other counselors told me I was the last on his visiting list as he had seen all of them while I was teaching! YUCK!!

I ordered some grilled steak and guacamole, graded some papers, moved my car out of the lot to be closer for my exit after conferences, and I went to support our clubs at Foreign Food Night for about 10 minutes. Before the principal could even make the announcement to start the conferences at 6pm there was a mini-line outside my office. It was non-stop after that! I had a fight break out between two parents when one parent tried to skip another parent and practically refuse to get back in line. I always get nervous when it's two parents from different racial backgrounds. This was a Caucasian mother with her two daughters and a African-American father of one of my boys. The father was standing a door away asking another counselor how to find a room when he was done with me, and while he was asking the mother took his spot. He kindly explained that he was next, and she very nastily responded, "You weren't here and can't expect me to get up?" The other counselor came in to let her know that she did in fact skip him, and the mother ignored her and turned to me and asked, "Are you really going to make me wait my turn?" Really? Trying to cool the situation, I apologized that she mistook her turn and that she would have to wait, she got up in a huff and then called the father an "ass for making such a big deal" as he was about to sit down. She carried on calling him all kinds of names, even after both of her two daughters told her to stop and that she was the one making a scene and embarrassing them. He stood back up and I thought, "Oh, good Lord, not tonight!" He completely surprised me by asking the mother quietly, "What kind of a example are you teaching your daughters? I didn't call you out of your name, I didn't raise my voice, I simply asked to have my spot back in the line that you took from me." Do you know she told him to, "just be quiet and take your damn spot, I can't stand ignorant people"? WHAT? Seriously? Her daughter was on the verge of tears and his son just sat quietly waiting for his father to return. I was so shocked that the father had enough self-control to come back in, shake his head and continue as if nothing happened. Don't know if I could have done the same. I even sent him an email when I got home to tell him how thankful I was for the way he handled the situation, especially since I am working so hard to show these young men how to handle real life situations without turning to violence and profanity. I may even have to use this as a teaching experience for them in class.

Lastly, the final straw to ruin my what was already a crazy day, as I'm walking out, one of the counselors says, "I know you've gotta run and we all want to leave but you're going to want to hear this". Last week I kicked one of the boys out of the class and the program for his failing grades and his inability to shut his mouth during class time. Well, it seems the parents came up for conferences, made a stink, and offered a bunch of promises on behalf of their son and my AP (number 1 fan of this here blog) told the counselor that she would put him back in the class! WHAT?!?!?! Are you fricken serious? Without talking to me first?! Last week she was completely on board with me using him to set an example, I already spoke to the coordinator of the program and have the paperwork to have him officially removed from the program. He's FAILING everything! The purpose of the program is to get minority boys into honors and AP classes, HE'S FAILING!! And he has a horrific case of verbal diarrhea, to the point that the other boys in the class are tired of him constantly disrupting class. What kind of example will I be setting if I kick them out of the program only to let them back in a week later because their parents want them to? When are parents going to stop enabling their kids to mediocrity? When will certain bosses not get duped by parent's well wishes for their kids? He was warned time and time again! URG! She and I will have ourselves a "nice" little chat first thing tomorrow morning!

Ok, I feel a little bit better now. Gotta get some sleep to start this all over in the morning - tomorrow is part 2 of conferences! Grant me the strength!
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Anonymous said...

Wow, now I see why being a teacher is such a thankless job. Hope you and your boss work out the student issue, you really can't set the wrong example with your students or you'll lose their respect and appreciation for being in this program. Good luck!

Jen said...

I am sooooo thankful for 2 evenings of drama-free p/t conferences! So sorry yours were so rotten. :(