Of all the things you are trained to do when learning how to be a teacher the one thing that's not covered is Parent Teacher nights. No one actually sits down and gives you guidelines on how to conduct it. Despite having taught for many years now I still wonder what all the other teachers say and why I am not made of sterner stuff.
The last few nights we've had Parent Teacher interviews, one of which has stuck in my head. This particular child does the work easily, is a quick study but is very chatty in class. This doesn't hinder her at all, as she frequently tells me, because she still gets the work done.
You may discern from that she has a bit of an attitude happening. This is a new thing- when I taught her in Year 7 we had a good relationship. This has unravelled a little recently. I have found it almost impossible to get this child to work at a quieter level. She has been moved- she continued to argue with me publicly- and asked to be quiet on several occasions. Still it continued. She persisted with a low grade attitude towards me, yet not quite enough for me to take serious action, especially as the term was finishing and I would hand them back to their regular teacher.
Yet, at Parent Teacher night instead of sternly raising her attitude problem I was embarrassed that mine was the only class in which she was so chatty. When I raised it with her parents they were surprised, no other teacher had made the same comment. The child, who was present as they are encouraged to be, didn't even look shame faced.
Why am I not sterner? Why didn't I make a bigger deal about it?
The parents did tell her she was rude and disrespectful and that she should apologise to me. They said this as they departed, of course, she got up and didn't apologise. Why should I end up feeling embarrassed when the child is the one with the poor behaviour? Or her parents? Why weren't they more embarrassed?
Almost making up for that uncomfortable interview was the one where the parent was actually pleased with me. Apparently I had wrought some kind of miracle as her daughter was not only enjoying English, she was doing well, and had embraced Romeo and Juliet with enthusiasm too. (Yay me.)