Parent conferences began last week on ZOOM. Fifteen back-to-back last Wednesday and two more tomorrow. Oooof!
Conferences are funny these days. We just don’t know the families the way we used to. Lingering pandemic-related restrictions keep us from welcoming families into the building for Visiting Day, Back to School Night, volunteering, and now conferences. Some families I am actually meeting for the very first time seven weeks into their child’s school year. While there are some who have older children in the building, so they know the school and to some extent the teachers, there are also those who have never stepped foot inside their child’s school building. Wild, isn’t it?
I enjoy fall conferences because they are a celebration. They are also a time for story swapping — mine and theirs. This year has not disappointed me, especially one particular child and his family. This young man’s mom and dad joined me early one morning before heading off to work themselves. They have another child in our third grade, so they’ve been around the block a few times, but they are a new family to me. The father mentioned he had a great anecdote to share before we really got started. Apparently, his son had come home and complained very dramatically about “ALL THE TOOLS!” He said, “Dad! We have writing tools, math tools, art tools, SO MANY TOOLS!”
But here’s the kicker. “She gives us all these tools to use and then just walks around. She doesn’t have to do any of the work! She just walks around and talks to us!” Fortunately his older brother — the third-grader — overheard this comment and, while I did not have him in Kindergarten, he came to my defense. “Oh, trust me,” he said. “Mrs. Wyman is working really hard to teach all of you Kindergarteners!”
Thanks, buddy. I feel seen. I feel appreciated.
Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.