Getting in Shape for Middle School Conferences

Yesterday I had the supreme joy of meeting with my eldest son’s math teacher at middle school conferences. What an eye-opening experience.

There’s no neat, 15-minute private appointment when you know you have the teacher’s undivided attention. In elementary school, I arrive a minute or two before my proscribed time, whisk in, whisk out, and it’s wonderful.

In middle school, though, it’s a madhouse. Of course, the teachers are supremely organized, with files and folders and every child accounted for. The parents sit and wait in folding chairs set out in front of the teacher they want to meet with.

Every middle school child has approximately seven teachers. Do the math. There are nine chairs in front of each teacher. At night, I hear, the parent lines weave like a maze through and around the gym, and possibly even out the door.

I sat down but wasn’t sure whether I should be in the first row or not. The other moms took me under their wing. “You’re behind me,” piped the mom in the back row. Got it.

When a new person came, he sat in the last row. One mom told a story of another mom who took cuts in front of another teacher and she “wasn’t going to let that happen again!”

One mom insisted that it’s cut-throat and you must be on the defensive, to guard your spot and gird your place among the eager parents.

Wow. Who would have thought it’s so rigorous? I guess that’s my parent-of-small-children naivet√© showing through. I’m ready. I’m working on my upper-body strength. By the time my kiddos are all in middle school and I have 21 teachers to meet with in a 24-hour period, I’ll be raring to go.

Just don’t cut in front of me.

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