Day 31 – September 23, 2022

I had a cooperating teacher that was very savvy when it came to training me. Student teaching is always stressful but parent-teacher conferences can be the worst. Barb decided I needed to do some of them alone while she sat and watched. She picked my first one to be a student that was doing well but had very aggressive parents. Sometimes teaching in an affluent area has drawbacks and these parents were one of them. As an added part of the story, it has to be mentioned that the weekend before the Denver Post newspaper published a report comparing salaries of different professions. Many times with these stories you have to read closely. The part that talked about teachers gave the average salary in Colorado. The basis for the average salary is about 10 years of experience on the job. This is compared to the starting salary of an engineer and that is highlighted by no years in the profession. These are the perfect example of comparing apples to oranges. With all that prologue, we are ready for my first conference.

The parents blew into the room like they were running after a train on the New York subway. Very rushed and gave the impression that they were inconvenienced by the conference. The student was doing well and the only real issue was that he needed to read more challenging work to continue his growth. This was a common refrain from us to the parents of most of these sixth graders. I knew it might be a challenge when the first thing they asked was, “why aren’t we talking to a real teacher?”  I explained that as a student teacher I needed the experience of conferences and that Barb was here if there was something beyond my scope. The father grunted and I started the next sentence only to be interrupted with “something is wrong with this country if a teacher is making more than an engineer!” The room went silent and everything seemed to move in slow motion. I was trying to think of an appropriate way to move the conference along. Barb was stunned and sat there mouth agape.  I responded as a reflex and said “it is a good thing your son isn’t being taught by an engineer then.” The room went silent again. The tension in the room was broken by the mother who busted out laughing. She told that he got what he deserved and the rest of the conference went smoothly. The only comment Barb made after the conferences is that I would be okay when I did conferences as I started teaching