Happiness is a warm teacher

School

I am fresh from a round of parent teacher conferences, between my two wonderful teenagers, I have now attended 19 of them during my continuing career as involved parent.  The last few have been “arena style”.  This style has come into vogue as of the last few years and I believe it adds to the surrealism of the event.

Imagine a large space, perhaps a cafeteria or gymnasium.  You are in the middle, surrounded by rows and rows of tiny desks.  At each one is seated a teacher.  Most are engaged in discussions with worry-faced parents.  There is an air or solemn soberness.  Most voices are hushed and not a wisp of laughter or small talk that usually accompanies large groups.  No, this is not a social event, like Back to School Night.  Like war, this is serious business and like war it is filled with short bursts of excitement mixed with long stretches of anxiety and boredom.

Every conference is unique unto itself and as the years pile on I have come to expect one thing; the unexpected. It is interesting to see your child, your beloved “perfect” child through the eyes of another.  It can surprise you and as one who has been surprised a number of times, I can attest to that wholeheartedly.

These surprise have been varied and thankfully never life-threatening.  Some in fact, a good number of them have been pleasant surprises.  I am blessed with  fantastic kids who have  given me many occasions to swell with parental pride.  However, I have experienced a time or two when I wanted to just sink right through the chair and  disappear into the  freshly polished checkerboard floor.

 It is on these occasions that the past gets the bite on me and I am transported back to the 80’s, back to the days of big hair and bad taste.  Back when I was a punky teen with an attitude and poor grades.  It feels like I am getting “busted” for something and all I want to do is run.

But I cannot run, I am a “responsible” adult and I must face the fire.  The fire being a stressed teacher with legitimate gripes about my child.  I smile.   I say all the right things, seemingly passing an untold test on the proper reaction to the given circumstances.  I have always been cooperative and I have tried to not take any of this too personally but, at times I have felt the sting of the hot lights of interrogation which upon reflection, seemed a bit much.

I try to put things in perspective but it is at these worst of times that stick in my worried mind and anxiety tends to creep in every year at conference time.  I have tried many methods to calm my nerves but really, all I can do at this point is to hold my breath, cross my fingers and hope for the best, and help pick up the pieces later.

 I vowed to make this year different.  I have found myself a bit more reflective since I have been writing in this blog these last few months and I’m realising that perhaps I have been projecting my old latent fears and struggles with school and authority figures from the past into now.  This is coloring my attitudes with regard to my role in these conferences.

Usually one’s unfounded fears never materialise they way they are expected and this current round of conferences proved to be no exception to that.   I took them for what they were, which was not so bad, really.  I guess that holding my breath and crossing my fingers paid off, not to mention the hard work by my kids with a lot of nagging by me.

 Number 18 went as smooth as can be.  No interrogation or hot lights.  The arena  had been abandoned for a more intimate setting in indivdual classrooms.  The report went well with progress made and hope for the future with an actual “A” mixed in….I was walking on air all the way to the next school and my date with number 19.

It was the end of a long morning, the sun shone through the cafeteria window drawing a bright beam of light across the stained linoleum.  The teacher smiles and offers me a seat.  We  exchange pleasantries. He tells me that my daughter is self-directed and motivated and that she too, has shown  progress.  We spent the rest of the time having a pleasant conversation about books.  Just two people; an energetic enthusiastic teacher and an involved parent having a talk about a mutually beloved subject.

  It will be these conferences I will endevor to remember  when it’s time for the next round.   (with some finger crossing too.)

 Wishing you blue skies and a happy day!

Strawberryindigo.

Hey You! An Indigo Rant

Crosswalk sign

Hey you…Yes you..Can you hear me?  I guess you don’t but I’m going to tell you anyway.  Maybe someone smarter than you may listen and learn something….

We almost hit you today, my friend and I.  We almost plowed right into you with his dark green Honda.  You could have been seriously hurt or worse.  You have no idea how close you came to getting your nice young red blood spilled all over the street.

If it wasn’t for my friend’s lightning quick reflexes and some kick ass breaks you would have been toast today.

I can imagine how your parents would have felt.  You getting hit on your way to school, at the start of a new school year.  Maybe they saw you off this morning, maybe they watched you with pride as you walked off to school.  You are quite tall for your age, which I suspect is about 16.  You with your dark hair and black clothes must have cut quite the figure as you walked off, navy blue backpack, jammed full of books on your back.

Being a parent of a 16-year-old myself, I understand how it’s hard to let go and trust that your kid is going to do the right thing.  You teach what you can and hope for the best.  I’m sure your parents taught you how to cross the street.  I bet they told you to use a cross walk, look both ways and don’t just walk out into moving traffic.  But yet this is just what you did.

You walked into oncoming traffic, without a care in the world…You never even looked up, or you would have seen us.   You, stooped over with your hood covering the tell-tale white cord and ear buds of your IPOD.. you never even heard us, honking at you…you never heard the screech  that the tires made as we stopped just in the nick of time.  We came so close..you came so close, and you never noticed. 

I wanted to stop and get out of the car and chase you down to give you a stern talking to.  I wanted you to know how serious it all is, this life business.  I’ve lived long enough to realise that life is fragile and fate can turn on a dime.  One second of stupidity can make you pay big time for a lifetime.

I know you probably made it to school, the very same school my son goes to, you might even know him.  And you probably made it safely home after school today as my son did. All the while never knowing how close you came to your life changing forever, and not just your life, but your parents lives, who most likely bought you that IPOD and would never forgive themselves for it, or the lives of your friends and family members who would miss you, not to mention, my friend who would have hit you, he never would have been the same either….

And so to anyone who is listening tonight…hug your kid a little tighter tonight, I will.

Stay safe,  Strawberryindigo.