Conference #1: "Hello, Mrs. Julie. Thanks for coming. So good to see you again (cough). You know, he initially tested into this class, but I am afraid that may have been a mistake. A big mistake. Have you seen his math homework? His current skill level is not where we expected it would be. I think for next year we may need to discuss a more appropriate placement for him. Oh, and you know how I said he was doing so well socially? Well, I'm sorry to tell you that he has been having some difficulty in circle time....and some at recess." Me: "Oh. Okay." Sad face.
Conference #2: "Well, Mrs. Julie, so glad you could make it today. We have a lot to talk about, and are so glad we have this time to sit down and discuss. Have you noticed how often he uses the word, "poop?" I mean, it is every other word, the "other" word being "butt." Have you made any attempts to curb this behavior? Do you realize that every boy in the class has adopted the word "buttchick" because of him? Truly. The other parents are complaining. We haven't been successful in decreasing his potty talk at school, so we are hoping that you will do your part at home. We need him to cease this disruptive vocabulary." I sit there, red-faced, saying, "I'm sorry. I know. I will try."
These were the conversations I imagined, sitting in the hallways, waiting for the teachers to open their doors. It is amazing how anxiety-producing conferences can be. Even when there has been no previous indication of any problem, I worry. Do you?
Conference #1 (reality): When the door opened, here she was:
(I wish I could show you her face, because her hair and make-up were great. But I don't want to put her picture out there without her knowledge.)
"Welcome," she said, in her best Johnny Depp/Mad Hatter impression. (It was "dress as your favorite book character" day.) When you are sitting across from a teacher with red streaky make-up and an odd top hat, it takes the edge off. And then, of course, it helped when she said that he is doing just fine. "His math is great. His reading is great. His writing has greatly improved. He is doing well socially. He is well-behaved. Just make sure he keeps writing over the summer." Me: Smiling, and looking over at my sweet and worried son, whom she also invited into the room. "Good job, buddy, love you," I whisper. My heart is relieved, the anxiety is lifted.