Tonight is parent teacher interviews, and I being a teacher am staying behind to have a very brief, under seven minutes, conversation with the parents and guardians of the students that have been entrusted to me. Truth be told, I’ve never had a bad parent/teacher interview evening and in my twenty years of teaching, I’ve experience about forty of them. I’m not sure why that is but it could be something to do with the fact that I never say anything negative about a student unless they are there with their parents.
I just don’t think it’s my job to cut people down, especially young people, and when they can’t defend themselves to boot. It’s not who I am and it’s not what I do. So tonight will be great once again because I get to meet the wonderful people that have sacrificed so much for their kids too dream a little.
Of course, they are not the same. There are those parents that want their son or daughter to have a 95% so they can become engineers, doctors, and lawyers and sometimes I feel like I stand in the way of that. I am in the way because I ask the students to consider the deeper questions which prod the meaning of our existence. Questions which often don’t have answers but questions which are far more interesting and worthwhile than all of the answers they memorize and vomit out on the exam.
I don’t get to often go to my own kids parent teacher interviews but I’m ok with that. We don’t expect a perfect report card. It is impossible to be good at everything, and if you are than there may be other things outside of school that you are not engaging in. What we do expect from our children and ourselves is effort. An honest day for honest pay. And I want my kids to dream. I want them to discover this world, learn about themselves and dream a lot. There is no reason not to. All of the things we think are important or that will last forever, never last and often turn out not to be as important as we originally thought.
I am looking forward to tonight. A chance to meet and shake hands with some incredible parents and guardians. This is the reason why I teach, why I love what I do, and why I wake up so early to get at the things that matter.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@thutra0803