8 Ways Parent-Teacher Conferences Are Like a First Date
This article was written by Ali Solomon - a NYC public middle school art teacher for the past 15 years. She's written for The Huffington Post, McSweeney's, and Scary Mommy, among others. Find more of her work at her blog, Facebook page, or Twitter.
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Your palms are sweaty and your stomach turns over slightly in anticipation. You check the mirror one last time to make sure there's nothing stuck in your teeth, and pop a breath mint in your mouth. Rehearsing your opening lines in your head, you open the door and enter the room. You are ready for parent-teacher conferences.
Or a first date. Really, the similarities are endless.
1. You dress to impress.
So long, chalk-stained track pants and paint-splattered cardigan. Hello, one blazer that still fits, and shoes I only wear twice a year.
2. You have to convey a lot of information in a short amount of time.
During a dinner date, you need to share your name, occupation, interests, hopes and dreams, and defining personality traits, all before dessert is served. At conferences, you'll have one 20th that time to give parents a complete portrait of their kid's scholastic and social situation. Ding! Aaaaaand....go!
3. You worry about not having enough to talk about.
Okay, so I'll discuss their child's academic performance, homework completion, study habits, and overall classroom persona. But what am I going to talk about for the next four minutes and 30 seconds???
4. You spend a lot of time afterward worrying about the impression you gave off.
Did they like me? Do they respect me? Did my blazer look snazzy? Will they call me?
Also similar thoughts after a first date.
5. You compare notes with your friends.
Which ones are the friendliest, the ones to avoid, the ones that will trap you in interminable conversations, the ones that will make you feel inadequate. And a post-mortem is a necessity.
6. You immediately plan the follow-up.
Should I call them or wait until they reach out to me? I don't want to seem too eager, but I also want them to know I'm invested and want the relationship to continue.
Maybe I should send an email?
7. You will leave feeling drained, yet optimistic.
Today I made a difference! I presented things in the best possible light, and now the ball is in someone else's court. Also, I reallllly need to curl up on the couch with some cookie dough and a Stranger Things marathon.
8. You hope it will lead to better things.
Engagement, perhaps? Better student engagement in your class. Also maybe a wedding.
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