When I was a kid, I dreaded parent-teacher conferences. Back then, it was always my father who attended them. He’s the kind of dad who believed in having disciplined, well-behaved children. You don’t talk back and you don’t question authority figures (if you’re the kid.) He was an Air Force guy and those traits stayed with him long after he left the military.
I was terrified about what my teachers might say. Usually, they didn’t tell him anything that I didn’t already know. I mean, I procrastinated (still d0, especially when it’s a topic I find excruciatingly boring or overly detailed) and a perfectionist (I’ve learned to work with this trait.) The teachers consistently noted that this last trait made me work slower than other classmates, and in some cases, not complete assignments (gasp!)
By the time I began attending high school, I wasn’t as nervous. I knew that some of my teachers would say negative things, so I’d prepared my father ahead of time. I recall that on one such occasion, I worried that my biology teacher would mention that I fell asleep during class (bored – we were watching something on TV.) So, I reminded my dad that my new migraine medication made me really tired. My teacher didn’t know about the medicine.
Now I have my own children and I have a slightly different perspective on parent-teacher conferences. And the teachers do, too! As a kid, I never attended the conferences. We weren’t supposed to. But my kids are expected to be there. It’s viewed as a chance for them to brag about what they’re doing well, and see that the teachers and parents are working together on areas where our kids need to improve. It’s a great thing!
Tonight, I’m attending conferences. Yesterday I asked each of my kids, “What do you think your teachers are going to tell me?” And they both gave me very honest answers. Just like when I was a kid, they and I, don’t want to hear any surprises coming from the teacher. They’re not nervous about going. They know that I’ll get to see some cool projects they’ve completed. And they’ve prepared me for anything potentially negative. Smart kids.
So, if you get nervous about parent-teacher conferences, try to remember that the point is to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Everyone wants you to be successful. And while you might encounter a teacher or two with whom you don’t click, that doesn’t mean that the teacher is “out to get you.”
Do your best. Complete your assignments. Ask for help when you need it.
These are the qualities every employer will expect from you later. Learn them now. You’ll be glad that you did!