Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lack of Parent Teacher Conferences

We got out of school early and everything. I'm supposed to be meeting with student's parents this afternoon to discuss their amazing attitudes, stellar grades, fulfilled potentials and beaming personalities right? Well I don't even have the opportunity to tell a whopper of a lie like those because none of my parents showed up. Two whole half days (weird word use there)and only a couple of parents came; the parents of the students who are doing really well in my classes. (Coincidence?) Some were out of town, some were sick, some just didn't come, either way it is so frustrating. It just really sheds yet another sad and exasperating light on the whole impossible situation out here, so lets all just give up on the kids already and get the party started.

You, me and all parents and teachers out there, let's just let them not do work, not come to school on time, not try at anything and reward them for doing such too! I say we should only watch MTV in class. Then after 1st period MTV watching (bumping and grinding are encouraged), they will go to 2nd Period: "How to continually be depressed forever" class where they really learn how to cement themselves in a cycle of eternal sadness and negative actions towards others. 3rd period will obviously be set aside for sleeping and or leaving school to cause trouble in town before LUNCH where we will feed the students only pop tarts and energy drinks. They will, of course, have to use and dispose of at least one styrofoam tray per pop tart and only drink their pop from styrofoam cups to make sure that the environment gets it's butt kicked in the process as well. Trays and cups can be thrown into the street or burned out back with the other garbage. Then we will forbid them from doing physical activity and make them eat strawberry flavored lard from a bucket to ensure their physical well being. 4th period will be comprised of Advanced fashion and brand name enslavement, extra credit opportunities will be given for successful arguments for what type of Aberchrombie and Fitch top is the best or why HURLEY is the brand that is the "sickest." Then 5th period we can dive deep into philosophy and art by watching "High School Musical" and other epic works of contemporary teen driven art (more pop tarts and cola). 6th period will be devoted to writing on desks, in books, and general school facility destruction including a discussion on the proper technique for placing gum under desk and how to creatively carve your name in back of a desk.
Our school has 7th and 8th period . 7th period will simply be used for students to go around and belittle, batter and punch their teachers in the nose while also telling them that they are old. 8th period conveniently coincides with Total Request Live (TRL) on MTV so the students will naturally be allowed to go home only if they maliciously step on a helpless baby animal (provided by the cafeteria), say a racially or gender insensitive comment to another student (must be younger), eat a candy bar (king size), smoke a cigarette (unfiltered and provided by the school nurse) and slap their grandmother (any elderly person will do). If they are unable to complete these steps (their homework) then they will be given 1oo dollars and a large mechanized metal vehicle with two speeds: reverse and peel out. There will also be a MP3 player in the 2 ton motorized death machine that only plays Linkin Park, Incubus, Creed, Young Jeezy and the new Ciara cd at full volume (with subwoofers).

In this new and improved system of education we can put them and America on the fast track for success and well being.

Yes can't you imagine it? A wonderful new America. No responsibility, plenty of junk food and all kinds of amazing music. Gosh, I can't wait to get started. Whatever.


Anonymous said...

All I can say is just keep trying. It just starts with one student. You are making a difference so don't give up! Love, Mom

alisha said...

I can tell you from all of my immense teaching experience(3 years) that the parents that you really want to see, never show up regardless of what state you live in. It is always the good kids' parents who come to parent teacher conferences. that's why they're good kids...because their parents care. so, just remember... you may be the only one that does care about those kids whose parents didnt show. make every little success count. in the end, you'll remember the really great days more than the really frustrating ones. keep smiling (even if it is through clenched teeth)!

Steven said...

I have no idea what the DVD situation is on the island, but you MUST watch Idiocracy. I'm not sure it will cheer you up much (although it is quite funny) but it will confirm your observations.

The film is based on some disturbing realities. Socioligists have been noticing for a while now that in our modern society the people who have the most kids are those that are, in general, lower on the socioeconomic ladder.

Unfortunately this also goes hand-in-hand with lower education levels, support for idiots like Bush and frequent visits to Wal-Mart, whereas more educated people with higher standards of living are having smaller families (one maybe two children, or choosing not to have kids at all).

Therefore, the U.S. population is growing because families that perpetuate ignorance are the most hardcore breeders. This is the true dumbing down of America.

Sure, this is a bit of a generalization, but I really believe there is truth in it. You are in the middle of it, and there are no good answers. It's hard to understand why someone would have a child and then not actively participate in their life.

Mr. Iverson said...

I have seen Idiocracy, it is freaking hilarious! I totally didn't realize I was ripping that movie off though.

Second, in defense of some of my student's parents, they were "Sick" or physically out of town.
So if students are reading this I am not talking about your parents in particular...

Lastly, (Steve no matter how much I agree with you or not) the views of people commenting on this blog don't necessarily reflect those of the author.

Just want to make sure my butt is covered here...you know?

Anonymous said...

From someone who teaches in a low income federal funded school-I have learned to accept what I can and cannot control. We just finished up conferences at our school and I was left to think about this very samething. Every year, I am left to ponder this idea, here is my best answer as to:


Teaching in a low income school I have found that these 'No Show' parents actually may have reasons as to why they make the decisions they do to not come to conferences (obvious reasons, of course, but then the basic, just don't come reasons). Often its facing the reality within themselves. Some might feel inferior, which I know NONE of us, would want them to feel and thats not what its about,however, I cannot undo whats been done to them. They also may not want to accept that their child might be faced with similar issues they once were faced with in school.

I have found it isn't lack of caring about their child, its more of a lacking of knowing 'how' to care (ie-showing up for conferences, helping or making them do their homework).

Parenting isn't easy, we base a lot of decisions on emotions and the way we were raised good, or bad.

I've often told Chris, its much easier to be a 'disengaged' parent than a parent who is always 'engaged' into what is going on in their child's life.

Being a 'good' parent takes a lot of time, patience and caring. If you weren't raised with those items, or have them, its hard to give them to someone else.

My first year of teaching I was hurt. I couldn't believe that parents weren't showing up for conferences. In order to deal with it, I wrote a letter to them to tell them how I felt. I use this letter every year for No Shows. Yes, you will have them every year. I still keep it personal. I want them to know that I take my job seriously, this isn't a business. I care about their child and their future.

I also explain how we were given the gift of time. To be able to sit one on one and to talk about their child, is a very rare and extremely valuable tool. I go on to explain how I wanted to share successes that had been seen thus far, challenges/goals that may be there, but how you would like to work as a 'team' to accomplish those goals by the end of the school year. Without their support, it is hard to have the commitment from the child. Then whatever I would share with them-work the kid has done in class, to back up my info., I would send it home with the letter.

I also always make a copy for my records. For the simple reason of grading. If someone wants to come and argue with me about grades or lack of communication, I pull out my file and have the documentation, no one can argue it.

At the end of the letter, I always back up what I'm stating about being commited to their child's education and I let them know when I'm avail. (before/after school) and if they would like to come in then. It helps for some and for those that don't, I just keep trying!
Jen :O)

Anonymous said...

This is a problem that goes passed low income to all parts of education. The parents are one issue, but when do students realize they can take control of their own lives? I had a student represent himself at his own "Parent Teacher Conference" because no one else would. Sad as that sounds, students aren't helpless. It takes a special person to break the cycle.

Scott said...

Because of where you are teaching, consider that you are not only teaching the student but also to some extent the parent.Also they don't know you like we do. Unfortunately many didn't take advantage of the first opportunity to meet and get to know you. You've only been there a relatively short time and you are still an outsider (this will change in time).Your careing,warm personality, passion and commitment to the kids will draw them in. Take a deep breath...... Now start to watch for opportunities to meet them in their comfort zone.

chickenman said...

Um... That's alot different than here in Chefornak... we totally had 80+ % show up, good, bad, and ugly.

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