Burning Desire For FIRE

Financial-Independence-Retire-Early(er) in Australia from the female perspective.

Things I won’t miss: Parent/teacher days.

Today is parent/teacher day. I’m writing this in a half-hour gap I have between parents, as I sit at my desk with a coffee and a biscuit.

Our school has a full day set aside for talking to parents. We start at 9:45 AM and finish at 8:30 PM, with parents shuttling through on 5 minute increments. I have 4 full classes, with one being a year 12 class and the rest are English, so my dance card is always jam-packed. I’m seeing nearly 80 sets of parents today.

It’s a long day. The school feeds us dinner, which is a nice little bonus, but all the talking is hard on the voice. Some teachers hate these days, but personally, I don’t mind them. It’s not the interviews that bother me, it’s simply the length of the day.

The kids are expected to come with their parents, dressed in full school uniform. (The kids, not the parents.) It’s a nice opportunity to congratulate the good kids, rev up the lazy kids and sink the boot into the naughty kids.

This year I have a year 8 class with a clot of very immature, loud boys that have been driving all their teachers and the rest of their class crazy. They’ve been eating the new, young teachers alive because they work in tandem to create disruption, which we rarely see at our school. I’ve brought up lots of boys and taught hundreds more, but even I sometimes feel as if I have to carry a whip ad chair into class when I have them, particularly at the end of the day.

A few weeks ago we instituted a seating plan for them across all of their classes. It’s spoiled all their fun and so it’s a great success. It’s been interesting to see which parents know about it and which don’t. I’ll give you three guesses as to which parents fall into which camp!

These interviews are very therapeutic to a teacher’s soul. The parents look daggers at their son and the kid looks sheepish. I never start off on the attack – instead, I ask the kid what they think I’d say if I was asked to comment on how they’re going.

Kids are pretty honest. It’s very rare that I have to cough, lean forward and say, “That’s a very interesting interpretation of what’s going on in the class. However…”

But yeah, as I said before, it’s the sheer length of the day that gets you.

After 8:30, by the time you get to your desk, grab your stuff and get to your car it’s pushing 8:45. Granted, the drive home takes far less time at this hour of the day than the morning and afternoon commute, but I’m still walking through the door at 9:15 at night.

A couple of students asked me if we get extra pay for this. I laughed and laughed.

We go through this twice a year. I know that when I retire, even though I don’t have a bad time while they’re going on, these parent/teacher days are definitely not ones that I’ll be looking nostalgically back upon.

2 Comments

  1. Wow! I am glad my school doesn’t do that. Ours are from 3pm to 6.30pm, twice a year. Unfortunately due to our area and low socioeconomy of the families that come to the school, we really rarely get to see the parents of students we really want to see. PTDays are usually quite a pleasant evening for us as only the good kids turn up!

    • We get to see most parents. I teach in a high aspirational middle-class area. People pay a couple of thousand over what their houses are worth, just to get into the zone, so they’re heavily invested in their kids’ progress.
      Normally this is a very good thing, but unfortunately it can sometimes lead to an entitled attitude from both/either parent and child that is difficult to deal with.

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