The other day we had parent teacher conferences – 8 solid hours of mania. So much happened, I really don’t know where to begin… Going into the event, everyone, including my CI, warned me that none of the parents we wanted to see would come. My reaction? There’s no way. The day before I personally called 24 different sets of parents/guardians/family members, and after hearing several “of course I’ll be there’s,” I figured I would prove them all wrong. The day of, we sat at our little booth, and I patiently waited to prove everyone wrong. Parents did come by – AP Parents that is. Hours were spent talking to parents whose students had 98’s, 99’s and even the occasional 89 in our classes. But the parents I called? Not a single one showed up. Out of all our classes, only one student showed up from a non-AP class – and that wasn’t even a student who really needed to come. The rest were all parents from AP’s, who coincidentally all had kids acing our classes.

I don’t particularly enjoy being proven wrong, but this instance was even more¬†exacerbating. Every parent I called had a student who had either an F or a D in the class. Since government is a class that students HAVE to pass in order to graduate, ¬†I thought there might be a little motivation there for parents to want to help there kids succeed. Yet, no one showed. I understand that some people have to work, or maybe lack transportation – but there are ways around it. Call, email, send a note in – help us out here! I’ve got several kids who are emancipated, or even homeless and I think that situation is one where I can understand that odds are no one can, or will come in for them. But come on, parents who are there and able to come in – at some point, the responsibility is on them. As a teacher, I can effect what’s going on in the confines of my classroom, but I can’t make your kid do homework, or study, or anything outside of it. Success in school is something that extends out of the classroom, and getting parents cooperation makes that easier for teachers and students. With these parents that won’t come in, or return calls, I’m at a loss. My teacher is used to teaching in this school system, and has gotten pretty used to it, but my skin just isn’t tough enough for it yet. It does bother me, and as she so eloquently told me while trying to convince me to let it go, “Beyond knocking on their doors, what else can we do?” We have done everything in our power to contact them, and I guess the ball is in their court. But even now, thinking of how unfair it is to those kids, it still does bother me. Is there a way to encourage their involvement, or is it really something I just need to give up on?

Oh, and the other non-frustrating thought – it is so weird seeing how much kids and their parents look alike. Yes, that sounds obvious, but it really is the weirdest thing when a parent walks up and you feel like you’re looking at an older version of your student. It’s like living in Benjamin Button world.

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