Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Slice of Life - After 18 years...

Today, being a parent and teacher were all in alignment.  Today, for the first time in 18 years it was comfortable to be a parent/teacher at my own child's parent teacher conference.  Today, I spoke with unguarded honesty and puzzles were solved.  

We walk in to the conference and greet Mr. S with warm hellos and I hope you don't mind I brought A along, she has practice in a bit.  Mr. S starts with celebrations and good news. He honestly says, "I don't know what to say about this test.  I was just looking at her grades online and she has a 98 in algebra, it can't be the math." However, the data on this test says it is the math, all three of us know it.  The science portion of the test is an A and the minus 9 points on the math portion presents an F.  

He then begins to point out she is setting up the equations correctly and I started probing without realizing I was; trying to find out where the breakdown was.  I toss out it's about the application of the math in a new situation, a few times.  He starts working through a problem and says it's an algebraic equation and she sets it up right but we discover it's not just a straight forward solution.  They are being asked to solve for a different variable within the equation which requires balancing out sides and solving for velocity instead of mass, etc.  She has practiced it in class but it's still fuzzy obviously.  

I ask A if she is doing algebra like this in math class and she says no, it's all straight forward equation work.  I ask should the math teacher help her with this and her science teacher says he can.  He's available two nights after school and she could stop by before practice to solve a couple of problems with him.  

I work really hard to be respectful and nonjudgemental at parent teacher conferences when I am the parent.  Probably to the point where I'm walking on egg shells because I don't want to sound like a teacher, I want to sound like a mom.  Maybe it's okay to sound like a teacher once in a while.  I think today was easy because the lens was to find out where the breakdown is for a very smart girl so she can be more successful.  I have to thank A for being brave today because she didn't want to go to the conference at all, she actually started us down the wrong hallway to be funny but I caught on.  

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering and organizing this writing challenge.


  1. Yes, this is always an "egg shell walk". I remember my son once saying to me, "Can you just be a mom right now and not a teacher?" I was always hyper-sensitive after than.
    It's good that you could get to the bottom of the situation there though. When a student always does well, they are left in the lurch when they don't get something like we think they should. I'm so glad it worked out relationally AND mathematically!

  2. It does get a bit tricky when we wear both hats. I have been there too. Walking down the wrong hallway would be something my son would do! That's funny.

  3. I've had two students who also have had parents at my school and I've never conferenced with teacher parents! I guess they want to avoid awkward situations. I don't mind either way as long as I can speak with an interested parent!

    -Amanda at