I just finished two nights of parent/teacher conferences. For the first time in my career, I barely reached for report card copies. Yes, we talked academic growth and progress. Worries were mentioned. Questions were asked. But it was not really about that.
It was about recognizing the vulnerabilities. About bearing witness to history. About honouring the family. Celebrating the child.
I felt needed. Needed differently than the children need me. But needed all the same.
I noticed what was unspoken. I felt it in the unsure eye contact. The fidgety hands. The brave smiles. The tears.
Tell me something lovely.
Show me that you love my child.
Share a happy story.
Confirm somehow you don’t judge me.
Agree to not mention my mistakes.
Make school feel like a safe place.
And so I shared.
“Let’s talk about this child! This child of yours. This child we share. Here is what I notice. Here is what I treasure. Here is what I celebrate!”
All day I teach these children. I know their courage, their persistence and their frustrations. I know things of their dreams. What they avoid. Their idiosyncrasies.
I don’t really know their parents. They don’t really know me. But we share a child in common. And that is huge.
These gifts I received were unexpected. Trust. Gratitude. Joy. Pride. From adults. These parents. In 15 minute sessions, we swooped up, dove down, glided. I witnessed sorrow and shame. Elation and relief. Quiet, bursting pride.
If we are true teachers, we are huge learners. I did a lot of learning at these conferences. These evenings where we pushed assessments and curriculum to the side and agreed, “Let’s talk about this child.”
I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.
Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.