Friday, December 01, 2017

Parent Teacher Conferences

I don't know what it is about me and the communication style of the administrators at my kids' school, but they seriously have me questioning my reading comprehension skills. Every form they send home seems to confuse me, at least a little. 

Most recently, we received an email about parent/teacher conferences:
Student Education Plan (SEP) Conferences will be held November 30th. We are excited to be using SignUpGenius in assisting us to create schedules for our December SEP conferences. (Our SEP Conferences in February will be our Student Led Conferences and will follow a different schedule.) 
5th and 6th graders do not need to sign up for a time. Their teachers will hold an open-house style SEP that night. It will be on a first-come first-serve basis in our school gym. (Just the same as it was this past September). 
The SEP schedules are the same time as our previous SEPs. You do NOT need to sign up again unless you missed the last SEP conferences. You may click on the link to view the time you scheduled for.
This was followed by instructions on how to sign up for a time slot. I read this and understood that (a) conferences were happening on December 1, (b) we're using SignUpGenius (huge fan), (c) 5th grade conferences are open-house (not a huge fan, but no worries because...), (d) I didn't have to sign up for a conference because I did not miss the conference in September. Boom.

So I made no plans to attend parent/teacher conferences. My kids all had tickets to go to Into the Woods at BYU that night, anyway.


But then my kids kept coming home and telling me that I do need to go to parent/teacher night.

"They're going to hand out the books we made about indigenous people!" Miriam protested. "You have to go get mine!"

"My teacher said you don't have to sign up for a time, you can just talk to her in the gym like last time," Rachel told me (cure the open-house format; we waited for over an hour to talk to her teacher in September).

"My teacher said six-thirty," Benjamin announced.

I was still pretty positive that I didn't have to attend parent/teacher conferences. At our old school(s) we only had one parent/teacher conference per year (unless there was a need for more). I saw my kids' teachers regularly because they seemed to like parent volunteers and welcomed my wee ones into their classrooms (not so much the case here). Anyway, since I'd just met with my kids' teachers in September, meeting with them in November seemed like overkill, especially since we have another conference coming up in February.

Surely this was only for parents who'd missed out in September.

But my kids kept insisting, so I showed Andrew the email.

He's got a PhD, you know, so while I might question my own reading comprehension skills, I'm pretty sure his are top-notch. So he read the message and agreed with my interpretation.

But on Thursday morning when we picked Benjamin up from kindergarten, I dropped by the office to clarify. Just to be sure.

"I just wanted some clarification about SEPs," I said to the secretary. "If I attended SEPs in September, do I need to attend them today?"

"Of course," the secretary said, resisting the urge to tsk at me, I'm sure. "You'll be signed up for the very same time slot you had back in September. Would you like me to pull up the schedule and check for you?"

"No, that's alright. I can look it up at home. Thanks."

Seriously?!

I don't know if I need to brush up on my reading skills or if the school administration could stand to have an editor run through their missives for clarity. Because this is not the first time I have been completely unable to pick up on what they were putting down.

Allow me to edit that for you:
Student Education Plan (SEP) Conferences will be held November 30th. We are excited to be using SignUpGenius in assisting us to create schedules for our December SEP conferences. (Our SEP Conferences in February will be our Student Led Conferences and will follow a different schedule.)  [no one cares how excited you are about SignUpGenius]
Please use this link [insert link] to review the schedule. If you signed up for a conference in September, we have reserved the same block of time for you. If not, you will need to sign up for an available time slot.
5th and 6th graders do not need to sign up for a time. Their teachers will hold an open-house style SEP that night. It will be on a first-come first-serve basis in our school gym. (Just the same as it was this past September). 
I actually have no idea how to word the fact that if you signed up for a time slot in September they went ahead and reserved the same block of time for you in November because that's just a weird concept for me.

Schedules change, people!

And I'm sure it would have been just as easy to have everyone sign up again. Certainly it would have been less confusing (at least, it would have been less confusing for me).

So, I (unexpectedly) spent my evening at parent/teacher conferences with my two little ones while my three big ones went to a show at BYU with their dad (and Naanii and Auntie Josie).

All three kids are doing great in school.

Rachel's teacher said that she's so glad she has a handful of students like Rachel in her class because it's her first year and sometimes when she's dealing with difficult students she's not sure she can continue teaching (I know that feeling), but then she remembers Rachel. She said Rachel is good at promoting class discussion and always seems to know a little bit about everything and easily picks up on concepts, but that she is still so motivated to learn a lot about everything and digs deeper than she needs to so that she does the best job that she can (instead of just doing her work and then goofing off).

Miriam's teacher said that she's "such a sweetheart." She's always writing poems for her and recently asked if the class could have a poetry contest. She always does her best handwriting and is always on task and is a good friend to everyone.

Benjamin is reading at a level E already. The goal for the end of the year is a level C. The goal for the end of January is a level A. So, he's doing well in that area. And in all areas. She did say that "a bit of his personality is coming out" now that he's more used to the classroom, but she didn't say, "Holy cow! Reign your child in, woman!" So apparently he's doing just fine.

My mom said that she mentioned to the girls last night how awful it is to sit through a "bad" parent/teacher conference and that they were shocked that there could be a "bad" parent/teacher conference. I'm so glad that so far all of mine have been, "Yup, yup—doing great!" conferences.

Keep it up, kiddos!

(And Mommy will work on her reading comprehension, mmmmkay?)

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