Sunday, November 09, 2008

Parent Conference

I have a student this year who is a sibling of a student that I had year. Both children are so kind, sweet and hard working.

Last year at parent conference time I tried several times to get the mom and dad (separated) in for a parent conference. The mom never responded to my notes home so I called the home and the mom told me that she would come but never showed. When she didn't show, I called the house again and was told that there was no one by that name that lived there. It was most likely the mom's boyfriend who I talked to. To make matters even more interesting, the family lives directly across the street from the school. It isn't a long walk to the school. I ended up never once meeting the mom last year. I had so many wonderful things to tell her about her child and never had the chance.

This year I am going through the same ordeal. She has ignored my notes home. I called her from the school and she never answered the phone. The secretary told me to use my cell phone and call her and guess what, she aswered since she knew it wasn't the school! I surprised the mom and she told me she would come to the conference. The conference was scheduled for last Friday. I was totally expecting a no show on Friday afternoon but then I saw the kids walk into the classroom. I got so excited. I couldn't wait to actually meet the mom. I waited for a minute because I fgured that the mom was walking behind them. When she didn't show up, I asked the kids where she was. They told me that she was home sleeping. The kids, my former student, my current student and their 4 year old brother, came to attend the conference themselves! I was immediately filled with conflicting emotions. I was angry at this mother for not giving a damn about her beautiful children. I was filled with sadness for the kids knowing that they know that they have to pick up the slack for their mom. I was also so damn proud of them for being such responsible children despite the model given to them at home. I gave them hugs for showing up and sent another note home to their mom.

What do I do in this situation? My administrator wants me to go on a home visit with her to the house to hold the conference there. I don't feel so good about that. can I really force a parent to attend a conference? I am not a fan of this mother but she apparently has some kind of phobia about school.

On a side subject, I really worry about these kids. There are 4 siblings in all and they are all the best of children, truly wonderful human beings. I see them running around the neighborhood with no supervision. Last week, during a heavy rainstorm, the student in my class was sitting on the bleachers with another kid just hanging out because he didn't want to go home. The kids come to school dirty sometimes because they are the ones who get themselves out of bed and ready on their own. They don't have coats in the winter. From the stories I hear, there are all kinds of people in and out of their house on a regular basis. I wish I could just take them home with me.


Suvii said...

See, this is the part about being a teacher that I could never stomach! She has a phobia about school? What the heck? And what conflicts me here is if she is such an uninvolved, irresponsible mother, how in the world are those kids turning out to be such spectacular kids? These kind of stories break my heart. Those children will grow up with so much resentment towards their mom, for making them grow up too fast and for making them take responsibilities they shouldn't worry about. Your administrator may be right that there needs to be some more extreme intervention? Does this family need CPS intervention? And the father is uninvolved?

Team Serrins Springfield said...

Wow. That is really troubling. The kids must be very resilient which makes me wonder who is giving them that good influence. I know that theoretically kids need to have one trusted adult in their lives, be it aunt, coach, sunday school teacher, etc. but something is conteracting the mom and the stream of people in and out of the school. It also makes me wonder how much these kids have to cover for their mom. Is she sick? Is she mentally ill? Something must be wrong. Maybe that's just the mom in me talking because I want to absolve her in some way. I know it's not possible but I just want there to be a "good reason."

MsAbcMom said...

Suvii: It is tough indeed to see this sort of thing happen. I have witnessed far too many similar incidents. There are many parts of my job that I don't care for.

TSS: I really want to meet the mom. As much as she infuriates me she must be doing something right either personally or by putting the kids in the hands of someone caring and kind, because the kids are great.

My gut tells me that the mom is just enjoying her life and can't be brought down by her kids. It is so, so sad.

Of Life, Education, E-bay, Travel & Books said...

Are you sure Mom doesn't have a long lost twin seperated at birth who has children attending my school? We have so many parents who won't show any interest in their kids. We have a social worker on staff who makes home visits and often Mom doesn't have a phobia about school, she just can't be bothered to get out of bed - sleeping in is of more importance to her than anything else. It's so sad.

Mrs. T said...

I know what you mean about not wanting to do a home-visit. It sets a precedence, AND she lives within walking distance from the school. I guess the only thing to tell yourself is that you'd be doing it for those kids and not for their deadbeat mom.