Elementary school teachers are the best! A few weeks ago, I read the best post by a teacher that was sharing the parent conference experience. I appreciated every word of the post and every second that elementary school teachers have spent with my children. Three of my four children are no longer in the elementary school, but my youngest, is a third grader in a second-fourth grade school building. Every one of my children has had a wonderful experience in the elementary school grades.
Yesterday, I had the second parent conference of the year for Fiona, the third grader. Being a teacher, I am always coming in hot to these after school meetings. Yesterday was no different, but I was only a minute or two late (usually it’s more like 5 minutes late). Her teacher was waiting casually at the kidney-shaped table in the back of the classroom and had a big smile on her face (she knows I’m a teacher in another district that gets out at 2:50). The teacher assistant in the classroom also joined us for the conference. It took no longer than just a few seconds of me being in the classroom that they shared a story about Fiona that was both funny and heartwarming. They get Fiona. They care about Fiona. They are teaching Fiona. The next fifteen to twenty minutes was terrific.
Four years ago, when I won the seat on the board of education in my home district, I worried about two things: 1. That my seat as a board member would make teachers nervous and that I wouldn’t be treated like a parent. 2. That the teachers would think that my child (children) deserves special/different treatment and that they would refrain from telling me anything negative. In all of those years, neither of these things has happened. In fact, the teachers have been comfortable, professional, up front and honest. The meetings have been thorough, yet they have also been casual. The teachers know my child and I can tell that they (really) know each and every child in their classroom. All of my children have been quiet and well behaved in the classroom, and all of the teachers have wanted to see them come out of their shell a little (just like my wife and I do). They definitely are not quite and well behaved at home. The teachers appreciate that we work with the kids at home, and I am certain that they know that we fully support them.
As I walked back to the van, I realized how lucky I was that all four of my children have experienced memorable elementary school years. These years that are so important, and their wonderful teachers made all of this possible. These teachers inspired them, nurtured them, and most importantly, taught them everything they needed for middle school and high school. For all of that, I am eternally grateful. Elementary school teachers are the best!