Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Pluses and Minuses of Going Solo

This is the first year of my last four in teaching that I’ve conducted parent conferences without a buddy.

Usually, I chat up the ‘rents with my One True Teaching Love, Renee. I do love double-teaming the parents at conferences. They get a more complete picture of their kids’ performance, and I get company. Also, if a parent gets pissed, you don’t have to call for back-up – it’s already there.

One thing that I didn’t like about those team conferences, however, was that Renee would sometimes make fun of me in between appointments and also throw balls at me. She liked to do the ball-throwing so that I would feel compelled to throw back, and then she could laugh at my “girly” arm. The joke never got old. Oh, and the year I was pregnant, she burst into wild laughter on account of my fetus’s “tail” EVERY SINGLE TIME the parents left the room.

Still, I liked the team approach, even though the conferences were a little rough on my ego, since Renee is Everybody’s Favorite Teacher.

“Oh my gosh, MS. S.!” The parents would exclaim on seeing her. “Susie just LOVES you and your class. Really, she is sooooo happy, and we are so GRATEFUL!!”

And then usually they’d hug her or give her an expensive gift as a token of their hero-worship.

Finally, they’d see me out of the corners of their eyes, and say something polite and restrained like, “Oh, and Ms. W., Jenny likes you, too, but MS. S.! You’re really special.” And then they’d wink at her and you could just tell their hearts were still fluttering with the honor and pleasure of meeting this Teaching Goddess.

So, although I missed Renee and her companionship (“Don’t you wish you were Italian, too?” she asked me one year while we waited for our next victim) it was kind of nice to just accept the low-key compliments and feel satisfied.

1 comment:

LH said...

i miss doing conferences with my ottl.
we used to make so much noise laughing in between conferences that the other teachers would complain about us. i think we were equally beloved, which worked out pretty well too. and equally beloathed by some others.