How Many Pieces Can I Slice Myself Into?

Parent Teacher evenings – Why do they have to make it so difficult? I have a teacher friend who used to refer to them as “meet the creature” evenings…

I have two PTAs coming up – one for two kids, and the second for one son. The one son’s school has appointments scheduled for each parent with each teacher. I can be in and out of there in half an hour. The other school has a first come first served kind of attitude.

Well, maybe not. They have split the evening up into 5 sections. And each section is for last names beginning with A-F, G-K etc. But I have two kids in two separate classrooms, 7 teachers to see within the half hour put aside for our last name. Which weirdly is the last half hour of the evening. Which means that I will probably have to wait an hour to speak to each teacher. There are 750 kids in the school. Many of those are siblings. How are parents supposed to do this without tearing their hair out? Divide and conquer?

I am seriously tempted to just call the school and ask them to have the teachers call me at their convenience. It just would remove this headache… but I also feel that if I don’t show up it reflects badly on my kids. I am extremely interested in how they are doing, and totally invested in their education – but I don’t have hours to waste standing in line for 2 minutes with a teacher while other parents are milling around listening in and nudging for the teacher to hurry up!

All schools need to just schedule appointments and stick to them.

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  1. Here, they call them “curriculum night” and it is not a chance to mingle with the teachers. You meet the teacher, you pick up the syllabus, the teacher spends about 8 minutes giving a presentation on his or her expectations and how you can help your child meet them. One on one conversations are for parent-teacher conferences, not “curriculum nights.”

  2. tanner24 says:

    As a teacher and a parent, I suggest you contact your children’s teachers, tell them you’re not able to attend, but would love to talk with them about their progress. If parents aren’t able to make our scheduled conferences, I have no problem having a phone conference with them. It doesn’t sound like the evening is a very meaningful one so I doubt your absence would have any negative reflection on your kids. A simple phone call to the teachers will demonstrate your commitment to your children’s education.

  3. Mark says:

    Bring your BlackBerry and grin and bear it … while tweeting :)

  4. fille says:

    I’ll tell you secret, just between the two of us: the Parent-teacher-evening is a headache for the teachers too…

    One teacher had a nice idea. She wrote on the blackboard, for the parent-teacher meeting:

    If you don’t believe all your child tells you about school, I won’t believe him all he tells us about home.

  5. Bracha says:

    Here’s how it goes at my son’s h.s. here in Israel: they do give appointments but we are at the end of the alphabet, so ours is usually for an insane hour like 10:30 p.m. (and that’s just for the “mechanech” homeroom teacher! The other teachers are first-come, first-served and lots of waiting. The first thing I do is schedule a private appointment or phone conversation with any necessary teachers for a normal time. The second is to ask that for the second half of the year, they flip the list so we’re first instead of last!

  6. lady lock and load says:

    1)I would show up to parent teacher conferences earlier than your slot. Nobody will care and you have a better chance of seeing more teachers. 2) Explain to your boys that there are alot of teachers to see and there may not be enough time to see all seven…are there any teachers that the boys want you to see? You should wait on those teachers lines first. 3) If you have not been able to see all of the teachers, write a note with your name, kid’s name, and your phone number explaining that you were there but were unable to see the teacher and if they could please call. 4) enlist the help of KoD to see some of the teachers 5) absolutely bring something to do while waiting…one woman I know used to bring all her mending to do while waiting on line.
    Good luck!

  7. G6 says:

    Oh, I couldn’t agree with you more on this 0ne.
    a) many schools are totally disorganized at these functions. Scheduling appointments is too much of a hassle for them so they go with the total 0ut of control melee option instead… sigh…
    b) many parents show no derech eretz – kind of makes you wonder how their children will ever learn any….

    What I have done in the past is to put up with this mess for an hour or two, then calmly g0 over to the principal, with a list in hand of all teachers NOT yet seen. I tell the principal that I have been here for over “such and such” time, and have not been able to see the following teachers. Kindly inform them that I am terribly sorry to have missed them and that they should please call me. This way they know I took the time to “show up”, and the principal knows that I feel that “such and such” time is bordering on excessive, and the teachers always call back. If I stay much longer, I arrive at the teachers desk in a foul mood which is not good either.

  8. birthwhisperer says:

    For my 9 year old I went to PTA to see 2 teachers. I came in time for my slot and it still took me an hour. Bear in mind that this year I have a baby (who I cannot leave home, and I had to hold him the entire time)The next week I had PTA for my 15 year old and I decided at the last minute not to go. The though of waiting on line for 15 teachers while holding a baby for god knows how long was unappealing. Also if I would have to leave the line to go nurse him somewhere I would probably lose my spot. From my experience, ( I have 2 who are out of highschool already) nothing I hear at PTA surprsise me – I know exactly what they are going to say anyway. I asked my daugher if I should call any of the teachers and she said I didn’t have to. I guess if any of them have anything to say thats important they will let me know.

  9. lady lock and load says:

    I think one of the reasons that I always went to Parent Teacher Conferences was because my own parents never went to mine. I guess they figured that I was a good student and did my homework so they figured it was a waste of time. Although I understood that they worked very hard and were too tired to go to meet with my teachers,I used to feel bad that they didn’t go.

  10. Justine says:

    I have three kids in two different grades at the same school. I never attend regular parent teacher conferences because the scheduling is insane. As soon as we get the notification of the meeting time I call the teacher and ask if it is possible for me to come in at another time to meet with them about the child in question. It makes life that much easier and I avoid waiting around for hours! In fact, the teachers are usually so thrilled to be able to cut one parent out of the chaos of PT conference times that they jump at the chance of an alternative time!

  11. miriam says:

    I really don’t understand why frum schools call this PTA. PTA is a national organization of parents and teachers, not a night of quasi conferences.

    My kids’ school has all the teachers sit at tables in the auditorium. I sent in a list of which teachers I would like conferences with last week, and received a schedule. There are two conference nights, and I have a lot of teachers to see but I won’t spend any time waiting in line, and I already know how much time I’ll need to spend there.

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