Parent – Teacher Interviews

Today is the day I get to hear about my little darlings and how well (I hope) they are doing in school. Tell me, why can the children themselves not be there to listen to the teacher’s criticism? Why do they have to sit at home waiting to find out their fate?

What’s also ridiculous to me is that they send the kids home early so they can do the Parent Teacher Interviews. Who the heck is supposed to watch the kids when their parents come to the school to squeeze their backsides into tiny little chairs? We don’t all have built in babysitters with our apartments and houses. Today I have to shlepp my little darlings with me. My built-in-babysitter ™ will still be in class in High School.

Today, I guess the kids can wait outside in the foyer while we talk about them behind their back. It just seems wrong. Why can the kid not hear directly from the teacher what he is / is not doing right? By the time I get home and talk to them, the discussion is all mixed up with pride or sadness which totally changes the trajectory of the conversation.

Or alternatively, seeing as they don’t want the kids there, but they want the parents there, why don’t they have some kind of activity to keep the kids occupied while their parents get the low down?

Oh yeah, this is parent teacher for just the secular studies teachers. We get to do this all over again on Sunday for the Rebbeim. Why can we not kill two birds with one stone? Because that would be convenient…and we don’t want that.

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  1. Esther says:

    Make aliyah! Here in Israel the interview is with the children present and if the siblings need to sit in that is fine too as long as they don’t interrupt.

    Not only is it convenient it is also a good chance to observe the teacher/student interaction.

  2. Lady Lock and Load says:

    What I hated about PTA was the ENDLESS waiting in line to speak with a teacher for five minutes. I had three girls in the same school and they had more than two teachers each! Doesn’t any yeshiva have some respect for the parents’ time? If they would have Hebrew and English the same night it would have been impossible for me. I am so glad that those PTA nights are over (I almost did the cha cha in the hallway at the last PTA I had to go to last year :) Boruch Shepitrani!)

  3. The Sunday ones, I like, because it’s easier to get someone to watch the kids. Also, can you not go at night, after the high-schooler gets home? Still not a good solution, because it still messes up everyone’s schedule, but better. And those of us whose husbands live in the same house can sometimes find this useful. But I do have friends who truck their kids along and leave them in the halls.

    As to the endlessness, there’s actually an online service schools can subscribe to that lets parents schedule in those five minute slots, so you have an appointment.

    Oh, and you haven’t mentioned the heavy feeling you get as you walk toward the gauntlet, fearing all of the “concerns” that will be piled on…

  4. G6 says:

    In my children’s school it’s an all morning affair and very frustrating. When there are several (we’re talking middle school) teachers per child for both Hebrew and secular studies and no *functioning* system to keep the traffic flow moving, parents wait around for HOURS in the hallways waiting for their turn with each teacher.
    Such an annoying and frustrating scene.

    • hadassahsabo says:

      everything is supposed to be well orchestrated…we shall see

      • G6 says:

        If it is, I’d be curious to hear how they did it.
        I’ve spoken repeatedly to my daughter’s principal, who claims that with so many different teachers for each girl, there is NO easy way to do it.
        They just throw each teacher into a different room and tack “sign up” sheets on each door. Parents run around signing every paper, only to find that when their turn comes, they are “in” with a different teacher. It’s bedlam.

  5. frumgoth says:

    I agree with you, that most students should be allowed to be a part of their pta meeting, so they can hear how they are doing and get some constructive criticism on how they could do better. However, that is only if the teachers would be able to do it in a way that does not negatively impact on their student’s self esteem

    • MeiraD says:

      My kids went to public schools and there they let the kids lead the conferences with the parents and the teacher just stopped by each table. The school was a great school but I found this practice of student-led conferences to be ridiculous. It is very common in public schools now all over the country. Stupid….

  6. tesyaa says:

    We had this last week. When afterwards, I went over the few things the teachers wanted my daughter to “work on”, she very convincingly explained why in each case, it’s not a problem, and the teacher is not viewing things correctly. VERY convincingly. I think I see a legal career in her future.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Please read my comment on facebook, and it does not seem to be a good idea to me to leave children, especially young ones in the hallway, alone… even if there are others around. Look at Elizabeth Smart, her sister saw her taken but was too traumatized to stop it.

  8. batya from NJ says:

    well H, my husband & i are going to conferences tonight too for our elementary school kid & i am hoping that the lines won’t be too crazy (we’ve all made online appts which the teachers are supposed to stick to). over the years, my hubby & i have always gone together to these things b/c we’ve both wanted to hear (or maybe not!) what the teachers have had to say about our little darlings…i think that the whole process would take a LOT longer if the kids were present too & sometimes there needs to be adult to adult discussion without the kids in the room. besides, the kids usually know how they are doing b/c they get the tests/assignments back from their teachers & they often know their grades (although sometimes they are clueless-e.g. “i can’t believe the teacher said that. it’s not true. i did SO well on his test & i NEVER make trouble in class” (of course THIS has NEVER happened in my family, but i hear it has happened to others ;)!
    the tricky part gets to be relaying the info to the kids in a constructive way without letting the emotions get in the way. THAT is surely not easy. the whole process isn’t easy b/c when the teachers have negative things to say about our kids, it is not easy for us to hear them, even when we are very well aware that what they are saying is most definitely true. hatzlacha to us all at our conferences & may we have much nachas (joy) from our kids!!

  9. Vicki says:

    I might get jumped on for this, but why can’t you leave the kids at home? The youngest one is 7? I remember staying home alone since I was 6 because at that time my parents didn’t have any money for a babysitter. Heck, I don’t think I ever had a babysitter. But of course, I don’t know the whole situation.

    I do agree with you that direct feedback to kids is important. But they should already be getting it in class from their teacher.

    • hadassahsabo says:

      there are laws in place that forbid leaving kids at home. A child can legally, i believe, be allowed to stay home alone at age 12, to babysit younger kids, by 14. I am not sure what the letter of the law is, tho. My 7 year old – he is way too young to be alone even for half an hour. He wouldn’t do anything he shouldnt because he is a good kid… but he is not responsible enough.

  10. s5 says:

    You wouldn’t want all your children to be present at the meeting about their brothers, would you?

  11. hadassahsabo says:

    Gosh, it actually ran on time….

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