Longbored Surfer

2006.09.28 Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parents didn't belong at school. They're not allowed to go to Parent-Teacher Conferences or to the Open House. Kramer (of Seinfeld origin) was one messed up character, but of his many bits of wisdom, I couldn't agree more with his theory about "colliding worlds" (Episode #118 - The Pool Guy). The point is, there are two separate worlds in which most of us live. During elementary-high school, there is the school world, and the home world. They both generally serve as the sanctuary from the other. When the two worlds come in contact - it's "gunna be trouble."

If you're curious about that episode…

Kramer was talking about George's worlds colliding by introducing his fiancée to his world of friends. This comes about by Jerry suggesting that Elaine call her to go to a movie or something like that. Kramer witnessed it, and saw deep into his crystal ball for this theory.

Recently I did some interpreting at a junior high school for parents/teachers for parent-teacher conferences. Something unique that I witnessed (which I hadn't seen before) was that the students came with their parents to meet with the teachers. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the kids as they had to hear their teachers either praising or rebuking the student to the parent - essentially tattling. Overall the kids dealt with it fairly well, but that's not the point of this entry.

My home and school worlds would collide every year. It was in these events that I knew I was going to catch grief later. It could be for something that my teacher told my parents about me. It could be my parents rooting through my desk and discovering something. Either way, I didn't care for it.

I happen to have a slight problem with collecting things in which others see no value. As a little kid I collected rolly-pollies (pill bugs, potato bugs). I thought (and still think) they're pretty cool bugs. I just happened to keep them in a little cash register I owned – little did I know they wouldn't survive. Oh well.

I also used to save the tips off of broken pencils (pencil lead is what we would call it, even though we all know it wasn't actually lead). For whatever reason, I thought they were pretty cool, so I'd stash 'em in a little pile towards the front of my desk. Of course I caught grief for this, but I stand by my collection.

I understand that parents want to keep tabs on their kids. I saw that kids got extra credit if their parents went to the parent-teacher conferences. I see that some teachers mentally answer a lot of questions about kids in their class once they see their parents (you should have seen some of the people there). I just think there's got to be a better way than making these poor kids' worlds collide. Here are a couple ideas on what parents and teachers could be doing instead of having conferences and open houses:

  • Bowling for students - please don't harm the students
  • Play a Ouija Board to determine grades
  • Toilet Paper other schools
  • Build a fort in the library out of old books and scenery from school plays
  • Help the lunch lady re-label the food with new/later expiration dates

Good times. No need to talk about what you have in common, just build a new relationship and go from there.

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