Nov 092007

Went to parent/teacher conferences at Z’s school last night. There were parents, and there were teachers, but there wasn’t much in the way of conferences. When I attended the conferences at her elementary school we actually had an appointment and had x amount of time with the teacher. At her Middle School they basically herded all of the parents into the cafeteria (multi-purpose room) where they’d set up a bunch of tables (with VERY narrow aisles) and stationed a different teacher at each table. They then gave a 3 hour window for parents to talk to all of the teachers. That was it. Complete chaos.

I didn’t bother trying to fight for position to speak with Z’s choir teacher, but left that to her mother. Instead I spoke with her English/Social Sciences teacher (her Math/Science teacher could not attend). So I sit down at the table and Ms. Moore immediately starts “explaining” Z’s easily understandable scores on the Standardized tests. Her mom kept the paper, so I can’t remember the specific numbers, but essentially her scores are unchanged over the last year or so. Did I really need five minutes for that to be pointed out to me. She then essentially dismissed me as there were already other parents waiting to speak with her.

Having none of that I asked about what she was actually teaching Z in an attempt to determine what she was learning. Ms. Moore couldn’t even offer a simple question about what type of questions are on the tests. Z got Bs on two of her reading comprehension tests and when I asked what type of questions were asked (the tests are never returned for some reason) all I could get was gobbledy-gook. So, trying another tack I asked what questions would be asked if the kids had read Romeo and Juliet assuming we were both familiar with that work. In return I received a blank stare. Pushing forward (now with three pairs of parents waiting for attention) I queried as to whether she might ask the kids why R&J couldn’t get married. “No. That would be too complex.” That’s it. Absolutely no suggestion as to what she might ask.

In other words, it’s not surprising to me that Zs test scores haven’t increased in two years – no one is teaching her anything! At least that’s the only thing I can interpret from her teacher’s lack of cooperation or ability to explain what it is she’s teaching. I really need to get Z into a private school…

  4 Responses to “Parent Teacher Conference Meat Market”

  1. […] welcome to all the educators and homeschoolers who are visiting today thanks to the inclusion of my Parent Teacher Conference Meat Market post being included in the Carnival of Education! If you’ve got a second I’ve got some […]

  2. You wrote;
    > I really need to get Z into a private school…

    Maybe a better strategy would be to speak with school’s administrators to find out why they have a teacher who can’t explain to a parent what they are teaching.

  3. Excellent point, Ma! Unfortunately, talking to the principle didn’t get me any satisfaction or further information. He simply defended the teacher (there isn’t time for more, you must have misunderstood, we can’t expect the teachers to remember every test question, etc) and informed me that they’re working really hard to get the school’s standardized test scores up so they don’t lose more funding. The problem is systemic. There are a few good teachers but everyone in administration I’ve ever spoken with has only shown genuine concern for the standardized tests.

    I didn’t add that to the original post because the conversation was about a week after I’d written it.

  4. You wrote:
    > Unfortunately, talking to the principle didn’t get me any
    > satisfaction
    > or further information. He simply defended the teacher

    Ouch1 Maybe it is time to look for another school.

  5. I’m sorry you had such a horrid experience at your child’s middle school. my suggestion to you is to request to attend a couple of her classes. I’m not sure what state you’re in, but where I live, state law gives parents that right as long as there is adequate notice. Even without adequate notice, I generally do not have a problem with parents sitting in while I’m teaching.

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