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Meet the Parents: Project 180, Day 54

Test today. I will do the taking. Parents will do the scoring. And while it would be disingenuous of me to suggest that I am not experiencing a little test anxiety as I look ahead to my long day, I am, above all, more excited than worried about this milestone moment for P-180. In this first round of parent-teacher conferences this year, I will have a chance to sit down with parents and talk about they who matter most–our kids.

Okay, so I concede that they are not my kids; to be sure, I will be attending my own kids’ conferences at some point in the next days, sitting on the other side of the table, learning about their learning, yearning to see, understand what their teachers experience with them every day–out of my sight. As a parent, I want to know–really know–who my kids are, especially away from home, which, as they get older, is sadly becoming the new norm. And thus it follows that I have to imagine that my students’ parents are seeking the same as they sit down with me tonight. And so, I will share what I see. I will share what I have learned in the first 54 days, when, for an hour a day, they are my kids; they have to be. I care too much for them not to be, and it is that, exactly that, that I hope parents find in me as I visit with them about their kids. I care. Deeply.

But, even then, I know, despite the depth of my dedication, some will still not be comforted by my concern for their kids. It will not be enough. And that makes me sad. In particular, I have gotten pushback from one parent who remains unimpressed and dissatisfied with me and my approach. We have scheduled an appointment for this evening to discuss her concerns. And I will listen. But I will also speak. I believe in what I am doing, and on that I will not compromise. But that does not mean that I will not be flexible in the best interests of her child. I have already offered a personalized, return-to-convention-and-tradition option for her child. Sincerely.

In the end, even if it runs counter to my deepest convictions, I can look past those and do my best to deliver what will work best for each kid. Even in a 180 classroom, one size does not fit all. But I am finding that it is fitting many, so I will stay the course. If nothing else, I hope our conversation reveals that, at the end of the day, we both–in our own way–just care about the kid. I look forward to the meeting. I do not resent the pushback. I ‘d rather have a “pushy” parent than a passive parent. Any day.

Happy Thursday, all.

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