The Parent Teacher Conference


Yup! That’s really me in Mrs Ruttkamp’s 3rd Grade. (Top row, second in from the right.)

As an elementary school student, the three words I feared the most were: “PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCE.” Nothing good ever came from my parents attending one of these. While my parents may have found these chats with my teachers informative, they never ended in “Jason’s doing very well.” Typically, my parents would return home and tell me that we needed to “talk.” (To normal people, this implies a two-way conversation. That is not what my parents had in mind.) They would ask me a lot of questions that started with “How could you…” and usually ended in “What do you have to say for yourself?” And, then I would be grounded. (Bye, Bye G.I. Joe!)

True story – during a Parent Teacher Conference, my third grade teacher (Mrs. Ruttkamp) informed my parents that one afternoon she discovered me barking like a dog under my desk. First of all, I was not the one who was caught under a desk barking like a dog! However, I am a gentleman and I will take the true identity of that culprit to my grave! Second, I believe Mrs. Ruttkamp might have neglected to tell my parents about her anger management issues or her errors in judgment as an educator. I don’t remember her telling them about the time she threw a book at my head or the other time she threw a 1978 National Geographic at my face. (I liked that issue. It taught me a lot about African boobies.)

I am bringing up these psychologically crippling memories for a reason – today, I attended my first Parent Teacher Conference as the PARENT!

Without going into the details of the conversation, all I can tell you is – Justin is doing great. He’s a smart and funny kid. Justin’s starting to make progress in the areas that require growth, but he’s loved and adored by his friends, teachers, and other faculty members. Yes, there is a little immaturity, but he’s seven! He’s trying to figure out who he is and where the boundaries are. I’m 38 and I’m still trying to figure those things out!!

After our meeting, I walked Justin to my car. He clearly knew why GWE and I were at the school and I think he was a little nervous about the outcome. I stopped him in the parking lot, told him I was proud of all the work he had done, and gave him a big hug.

…and then as we drove home I told him about the time some crazy teacher told my parents I was a dog.

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