Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Parent-Teacher Conference

I’ve only been teaching for ten weeks but I feel like I’ve been exposed to so much:

--The worst language I’ve heard anywhere.

--Constant drug use INSIDE the school.

--Assault. And how powerless I feel when the administration backs up the students and not me.

--Plummeting academic expectations due to a rude shock of what my student’s reading level was. (I was naïve, but I was planning to teach Othello to my 9th grade class. The ones who CAN read are limited to Goosebumps books.)

--Gross amounts of apathy-from students, from counselors, from administration…and worst of all, from teachers.

--The just plain gross: I spent fifteen minutes today scrubbing a full container of dried yogurt off my wall. (It was raspberry.)

But the absolute low-point (so far) was tonight’s parent teacher conferences. I was prepared for the worst: angry parents, parents disgusted with students failing grades, the degrading looks as they saw their child’s young and white teacher. Yeah, I was expecting to be cursed out, or at the very least to have to defend my standing on how their student was progressing in my class.

I didn’t expect an empty classroom.

From 5:30PM until 8PM I sat at my desk with only the hum of the heating system to keep me company. Not one of my thirteen students had a parent show up. Not after all my calling, my cajoling, my coaxing and mailed letters home.

I returned home stunned, hollow, and a lot more wise about why my emotionally disturbed students may have such intense behavior issues.

Some of my colleges blamed the rain when I asked them why the turn out was so small. (11 parents all together) But I can’t stop the despairing, and perhaps naïve, question that blares in my head:

Why does no one love my kids?


Blogger Nic said...

For this year--in this class, at least--perhaps someone does, a bit. And that's as much as you can do.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 7:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Schoolgal said...

You obviously care deeply for them.
And on some level, they know it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 8:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Karianne said...

Last year I taught high school history, 5 classes of varying levels. On parent-teacher night, I kept track of how many parents showed up. In the three classes I taught at the lowest level, I had a TOTAL of 2 parents show up. That's 2 parents for 75 kids.

Sometimes it is hard to figure out what comes first, student or parent apathy.

Good luck this year. I could only cope for one year teaching high school. Now I teach community college and things are much better for me.

Thursday, November 09, 2006 12:53:00 PM  

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