Thursday, May 11, 2006

Conference Time

So, post number 300. Woooo.
It's conference time again. That's right. Yours truly will be sitting in the cafeteria all by his lonesome watching as zero parents come to talk to him. It's true. Not a parent has signed up to talk to me AGAIN. Sigh.
I've decided to do a live blog from the actual conferences. Yeah for you!!!
I've been here for ten minutes now. One parent has already stopped to talk to me. This was my only signed-up parent (The list changed this morning). Great conversation. I heard all about how Student X's dad can't make it because of gall bladder surgery and etc. Just what you want to hear.
On the plus side, I actually have a sign this time...and my own table. Spacious...for a freaking cafeteria.
The parent sitting near me reeks of salmon...I kid you not. I guess that's mean, but I'm also really sick, so I don't care. It's also a million degrees in hear. A little man in an orange robe just burst into flames. Ooops, that might have been in poor taste.
Sadly, this almost feels like an episode of 24.
I'm waiting for Jack Bauer to call me.
So, things that happened this week. Well, Prom is over. My understanding was that it did not go well. ne of my colleagues showed up for pictures (as he usually does) and he did not enjoy himself. Still, he got his picture, which is what he wanted.
Several students came to me on Monday and expressed their displeasure. You have to understand, I have hall duty outside the nurse's office everyday at 10. If I don't show up, STUDENTS COME LOOKING FOR ME IN MY OFFICE! The other day I was ten minutes late due to a meeting, and I was given hell for it by a few students. "Mr. Leab! How dare you come late!" they yelled at me.
Back to the point, It seems that I am supposed to always be available for crisises and such. These kids seek me out to discuss all of life's problems. I'm not upset by it, but it does lead me to wonder what the point of an in-school counselor is. If I'm helping students with understanding the "why's" of life, what are the counselors really for?
For example, a senior came to me today to discuss why he/she isn't upset about graduating. "Is it bad if I don't care if I see any of these people (other students) ever again?" Thus starts a lengthy conversation where I am supposed to be the guru. Every conversation feels like it needs to be prefaced with, "This is just my opinion. Nothing more, but....."
Hang on, another parent....
I just met one of my advisee's parents. They are "Stone Cold Rockers" as I was told.
My colleague to my left just mentioned that he is now "too fat" for his Santa Suit. That's hysterical! How can you be TOO FAT of the suit? Awesome.
Anybody read the Pioneer Press yesterday? They had a huge ad in the paper for the St. Paul Teachers...
Hang on a minute.
Wow, a teacher being told, "You rock!" by a parent is very odd. Oh well. Back to the story.
There was an ad thanking the St. Paul teachers for all their work. I was in there. Hey, my school keeps forgetting about me, but the district? They are well aware of everything. My wife, who never reads the paper, heard about it from one of her colleagues.
"Hey, your husband was in the paper!"
"What didn't he tell me about?" my wife says with a sigh.
"No, no. It wasn't anything bad. He was thanked."
"I'm sorry...thanked?"
"Yeah, he was thanked for being a St. Paul teacher."
"Huh....His school can't remember him, but the district sure does."*

*Yes, I did in fact crib my response from my wife's. However, I am admitting it, therefore it is not plagirism, and I cannot be sued. Besides, my wife would only get money from me, which is also hers, therefore it becomes a lose/lose situation.
Wow, there are no parents here tonight. None. At the last conference, there were parents galore, but they were probably worrying about colleges. Now, with the seniors leaving very soon, they must not care anymore.
My colleagues are freaking out about my writing. One of the other teachers who really doesn't like me keeps coming over to see what it is that I am writing.
"Better not be about me, Leab."
I feel bad for him, he was the subject of a student prank that went really awry. They attempted to create a MySpace account and put all sorts of nasty things on it about him. A few of us (including myself) came across it and told him. The response was that the student who did it was shut down. The site is now gone, but it brings up a problem:
I have a blog that is my own and definitely me, but what happens if my students turn on me and decide to try something like that with me? Will I be able to defend myself? Could I be fired?
Of course, I don't believe my students would do this. Do they read my blog? Sure, every once in a great while, but not religiously (I don't think anyone reads this religiously anymore...that's not a bad thing and I'm not complaining, just noting).
Hang on a second.
Just had to explain to a parent that the student will probably fail the class because he/she (won't say which) has turned NOTHING in this quarter. There are only five weeks left (though it's really four as the last week is used to finals and such), but this kid is convinced he can make it on a D. Sigh. When I was younger a D was horrible. It was worse than an F. F meant you totally didn't get it. D meant you could understand, but you just really couldn't or wouldn't do the work. It's sad really. I got a D in Archaeology my Sophomore year of college and I felt guilty. Really guilty. Maybe it's just me, but I KNEW I could do better. I felt I was a failure.
During my Master's, I got a B in one class, and I flipped out. Here were my colleagues all graduating with perfect 4.0 GPA's, and I had a 3.93. It shouldn't but it REALLY angered me. I felt it would look bad when I went to look for jobs.
Uno memento
Wow, I got hit by parents of kids not in any of my classes.
"Oh, YOU'RE Mr. Leab....My kid LOVES you."
Oy vey.
I did have a few kids in my classes come by. The best so far? One parent who started with, "I'm not happy about her grade. What are YOU going to do about it?"
Oops, hang on a minute
I have a deaf/hard of hearing student in my class. His parents are freaking out about him being in a regular class. I spent the last 20 minutes trying to explain to them that he's fine. The mom isn't sure. She thinks 1. I'm nuts, and 2. That her son will fail. I tried very hard to assuage her fears. It's difficult. She is so concerned that her son is going to fail because he is deaf and the other students aren't. That being said, she actually praised me at the end of our meeting for not expecting the kids to read all of the text on their own.
Did I explain to her that I don't have enough textbooks and that's why I don't send the book home? No, but I probably should have.
Back to the other parent for a minute.
"What are YOU going to do about it?" she asked.
"What would you like me to do?" I replied.
Parents seem to hate this. Her face got that "I'm going to kill you, bastard" look on it.
"Well, why is she failing? What haven't you done?"
"Well, Ms. X, she hasn't turned in any work this quarter. There are only five weeks left. It would help if she turned SOMETHING in."
"Well have you been reminding her? Have you kept on her?"
"Yes. She also has an assignment log that she is supposed to keep filled out. Did she tell you that?"
A small shake of the head.
I continue.
"Did she tell you she has folder that all of her work?"

"Ok, that's fine. It means that she hasn't been sharing her work with you. Start asking her."
It's the end of the night. I had a parent show up at 7:00. Annoying, but dealt with easily.
I'm going home and eating dinner.
Hopefully this gives you a nice idea of what we truly feel and do at conferences.


Voix said...

Oh honey. You are so ready for vacation. You're not teaching summer school this year, are you? I certainly hope not.


laura said...

Yeah, there's a reason why my mom asked me that if she should go and I told her that it was basically useless. Oh and by the way, I had an awesome time at Prom. SO not everyone thought it sucked.

cat said...

Sorry that conferences went so sucky. Again.

And yes I still do read your blog religiously. It is the first one I check every morning. :)

Just remember the year is almost over, and I agree with Michele, sounds like you are ready for the summer vacation! I also hope you are not teaching summer school. You deserve a break, and it sounds like you need one!


Jason said...

I had fun at my prom this year.

And I fairly religiously read this blog. For what it's worth.

Carolyn said...

Echoing Laura's sentiment- I also greatly enjoyed prom. The music definitely could have been better, but overall, it was a really great time...especially since I had a real date!!!!

And your conference stories just reinforce the fact that I will never ever become a teacher. They just sound horrible.

Leab said...

I get that some people had a good time at prom, but let me ask you this, ladies: Was it at Prom, or was it after you left?
Be honest.
Was it actually while you were in the Landmark Center that you enjoyed yourself?
As for not becoming a teacher, well that's just part of the job. It shouldn't be the decider.