How Should a Teacher Break the News that Your Kid is Weird?

Lunch in the Teachers' Lounge is never dull.  Every day at noon, several of my co-workers and I break bread together and talk about whatever is on our minds.  We talk about our kids, our families, our extracurricular activities, and any of the hundreds of other things friends might discuss over lunch.  As you might have guessed, however, our number one topic of choice is our students.  And whywouldn't it be, right?!  We are all (I assume) working at the elementary school because we love kids, and we want to help our students succeed.  It is obvious that the teachers I work with are a very compassionate bunch, and I am often floored by the level of concern and involvement they have with their students.  Frequently, we will spend lunch talking about how to reach a particular student's needs, or discuss strategies to use in class.  Recently, discussions have veered more toward Parent/Teacher conferences, since we have just completed the first grading period.  Consequently, I have never seen my co-workers look more stressed!

I never realized-- or took the time to think about-- the level of anxiety that a teacher experiences during a Parent/Teacher conference!  One would just assume, because the teacher is the one at the meeting with the grades and the behavior reports and the information, that the teacher would feel confident going into a conference.  Wrong!  Teachers get nervous, too, y'all.  It's not usually the discussion of grades that make teachers shake in their conference shoes, but rather the topic of behavior.  And not so much bad behavior as "weird" behavior-- as in Crazy Train-style weird behavior-- that makes teachers squeamish at conference time.  I have discovered during my daily lunches in the Teachers' Lounge this fall that teachers are often afraid of having the Your-Kid-Is-Acting-Weird Conversation!  The teachers worry about what to say, how to say it, and when to bring "it" up.  They worry that they will say too much or too little.  They worry that the parents will get mad, or get offended, or get up and leave!  Who knew?!

*image courtesy of NYC Educator



Christina Allred

Riding the Crazy Train:  Diary of a Delirious Mom


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