This is conference week, possibly the most exhausting week of the year, next to the last week of school! I've spent many hours preparing, gathering work samples and assessments, writing out my usual 1/2 page of notes detailing progress in all academic areas and behavior. Parents nearly always appreciate my efforts, and when it's all said and done, I really like meeting with families and talking about their kids. (Or maybe, I just like to talk!)
Still, it's tiring work, prepping and meeting, and still planning and teaching all week. This year I have four conferences with an interpretor, something I haven't found necessary since my second year of teaching. The first one was today after school. The parent arrived 20 minutes late, stayed 30 minutes, and brought her older child with a grandchild. (My student stayed after school with me to wait for her mom to arrive.) I got a taste of what Kailyn must be feeling, as I sat at the table with five people all talking another language, and me not knowing what was being said! (I just smiled and nodded, hopefully at all the right moments!)
Tomorrow is an early release day, and I've got eleven 20 minute conferences scheduled. If they all show, I'll be almost half way done! Makes me tired just to think about it! That's a lot of talking . . . and listening, I hope.
Because it isn't all about me, and what I want for these kids. I need to listen carefully to the parents, pay attention to their needs, and hopes for their children. More than ever before, I need to be compassionate and sensitive to cultural differences, as 40% of my students come from homes where English is not the first language. I am awed by this knowledge. And impressed by these students who come to school every day, working hard at translating what they are learning from English, to their home language, and back again to English to respond. I admire their tenacity.
It's Monday, a little closer to bedtime, (hallelujah!) and I'm pondering the swing I've made from being tired, to being inspired. To looking forward to bringing hope and encouragement to each family I've been given to work with this year.
And, to getting to bed at a decent time, so I can be rested and energized for this upcoming week.