Parent - Teacher conferences are mostly a waste of time. I think we all know that if the teacher has a genuine concern, likely her fingers aren't broken and she can pick up the phone. And most parents are able to send an email, make a phone call or schedule a meeting. What's the point of the parent-teacher conference?
I think it's to sell books at the book fair and give teachers an easy day off with pay later for this extra "work" they do that night, yapping with the parents about this or that. (Not a job I'd want, but hello? My husband is practically a slave and doesn't get paid "extra" for weekends or beeper duty. He doesn't suddenly get allergic and get a super comp day if he has to remain in the building for more than exactly 40 hours each week. But, see, that's because he isn't a member of a teachers' union. Somehow folks like him can't lobby, get great benefits and clean up to the tune of 40% of the state budget "for the kids." I'm thinking WE have kids, too, but that doesn't count...)
Tom Utley wrote a little piece for The Mail Online about these dopey conferences and how some teachers have the audacity to think that parents need to rearrange their schedules for the school, rather than the other way 'round. He had just received a "snotty" note demanding a good excuse for missing a mandatory conference.
"Well, I don't finish work until 9.30pm at the earliest. I wondered how this teacher would feel if I summoned her to my office on the other side of London at a time she couldn't manage - and then demanded a written explanation and apology."
"Besides, I've always found these evenings a complete waste of time for teachers and parents alike. Yes, I know that my boys are intelligent, and I know that they could work harder. Why should my wife and I have to queue for three hours to be told that, by one teacher after another?"
"Fizzing with indignation, therefore, I seized the reply slip - headed in bold type 'Non Attendance at Year 11 Parents Meeting' and beginning 'I/we were not able to attend the Year 11 Parents Meeting because. . .'. "
"I wrote: 'In these desperate times for job security in the private sector, I simply cannot afford to take time off in the middle of my working day to accommodate your desire to get home early and your unwillingness to hold parents' evenings at the weekend. I am disappointed that you seem unable to appreciate what is happening in the world beyond the school gates.'"
Bwa ha haaaa. Too bad he didn't actually send it. That would encourage parent-teacher dialogue for sure. REAL dialogue.
As an aside, I've been in contact with G's teacher and I flat-out told her that I wasn't going to rearrange my schedule to be there that night. Frankly, being told my kid is this or that in front of the other parents after rearranging my schedule, parking in the hinterlands and jostling about in a crowded gym isn't going to make me feel all friendly and welcome. Why do that?
Hopefully, I'm not in the "bad parent" file. If I am, at least I didn't expend too much energy to get there. :P