Catching Some Z’s & Lightning Bolts aka Parent Teacher Conferences

Spring break has come and gone, and now we are on to the final stretch. 9 1/2 weeks until the end of the school year. (Not that I’m counting.)

This year’s spring break started off just like every other with parent teacher conferences. Here are a couple of things that stood out.

Catching some Z’s

I have a student who takes a really looooooong time to complete assignments. He literally writes a word (usually his own name) then finds something else to occupy his mind for the next ten minutes. I walk over, tap his paper, ask him what he’s going to write next, he’ll say a sentence then he’ll write a word, sometimes a word and a half, then his mind is off again… Apparently, this is a common occurrence and was the focal point of our parent teacher conference.

The student showed up with his mom and 2 sisters and the conference began. We discussed his report card, then began to make our way through his individual evaluation sheets for each class. Everyone of his teacher’s wrote similar comments about the students inability to stay focused to complete simple tasks in class.

At this point, Mom shook her head and sister commented:

Sister: “You can see this makes our mother upset. She has heard this from his teachers for the past three years. She doesn’t know how to help him.”

Me (to student): “How does that make you feel? Your mom is upset by what she’s hearing.”

Student: “No. Actually, she’s just trying to stay awake.”

Mom: Looks at her son and frowns.

The student and I start to make plans for him to stay after school to get caught up, and I glance over at Mom to see if she’s following our conversation. She’s not. Her chin is resting on her chest and yep, she’s asleep. I pause for a minute as she sits up and looks around. I continue to talk to the student about tackling his missing assignments and when I look back at mom her eyes are drooping, drooping, and she’s gone. At this point I adjust my laptop on the table just enough to jostle her back to consciousness. The third time she falls asleep… I just leave her be. The student and I finish the conversation, I thank the sisters for coming, the three of us get up from the table and start to walk away… Eventually mom wakes up and thanks me for my time. It was all very awkward.

Do you want to know what else is awkward? When a conference that starts like this.

Me: “Hey guys. Thanks for coming. Mrs. O, it’s great to see you again.”

Student, Mom and I sit down.

Mom: “So, has my son told you that I was recently struck by lightning?”

Me: WTF? Seriously? Did I just hear what I thought I did? And if so, how in the world am I maintaining my composure? “No. Nope, he didn’t mention that.”

In all fairness, the story that followed was not funny, but who leads with that? The truth is, Mom had been using the shop vac to clean up the water her their flooded basement. She went outside to empty the canister, was standing in a puddle, and lighting struck the yard electrocuting her. Crazy.