Parent teacher conference time has rolled around again. On Friday, my daughter handed me a note asking parents to call school to make an appointment. She nervously asked, “What do you talk about at parent teacher conferences?”
I have six siblings. My mom used to joke that chaos would erupt the minute she and my dad walked out the door on conference day. We were consumed with excitement and worry as we pictured our favorite adults sharing secrets about us. It’s true; parents, teachers, and kids eagerly anticipate and worry about parent teacher conferences.
Like most adoptive parents, we spend a great deal of energy building a positive adoption culture at home. We surround our family with positive cultural portrayals of our girls’ first family and their personal adoption stories. We hope their teachers will value and portray similar positive messages around our adoption in general, our girls and their adoptions stories, and any and all family stories of the students in the classroom.
We want the teachers to do all of that, without us sharing too much of our kids’ personal history. That’s a tough assignment on both sides! Last year, we had a difficult parent teacher conference. I think it’s fair to say that all parties left the meeting frustrated, feeling as if they weren’t heard. My husband was uncomfortable, in fact so much so that he declared that after 26 years of conferences, he will be resigning from his position on the parent side of the table. We simply did not communicate well. When it was over, I followed a teacher out the conference room door. I was desperate for her to respect and have compassion for our daughter. I did something I have regretted ever since. I shared too much of my daughter’s personal adoption story. I cannot take it back. I cannot give my daughter’s story back to her as a gift to share or not to share as she sees fit.
Soon we will have another conference. I am just as nervous today as I was when I was six years old watching my parents drive off. In the week before the conference I will pray for my kids, for their teachers, and for my tongue (and I am fervently praying that my husband was just kidding about his conference retirement status). Katelyn’s Fund family, if you have a minute, could you pray that my tongue be loose enough to share my heart for adoption, family culture and especially my kids, but tight enough not to violate my kids’ privacy?
How do you prepare for your PT conferences? I’d love for you to email me suggestions. Heits@hickorytech.net