Seriously, I wasn't going to do this, but after seven hours of Parent Conferences (aka The Tuesday/Thursday Hostage Crisis), my intellectual state is at...oh, let's say, Tepid Oatmeal. I want you to imagine putting in a full day of Teen Wrangling at The Rock from 7:40 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. and then facing a gymnasium full of parents from 3:30 until 7:00 P.M. Yes, 120+ staff members, two per table, all herded into the gym, where cattle-call conferencing takes place. Twice.
Anyway. I had planned to post something far more cerebral and witty and sophisticated, but frankly, it's just not there. So instead, I will regale you with this stunningly illustrative anecdote from my second evening at conferences. It will make everything in my professional life so abundantly and magnificently crystalline for you that you will never again wonder why I manage only to post about once a week.
My roommate Andrew and I shared a table. We try not to listen to each other's conferences, but of course, with such close proximity, it is difficult. The parents, however, don't usually seem to be too worried about their privacy. At one memorable moment, I had a parent at my table whose lovely daughter was expecting a B+ on her report card in my sophomore honors class. She had taken a dive from her usual "A" due to a particularly rough outing on her test over The Great Gatsby. Uncharacteristically, I decided to boost her the 5 points and give her the A-. Here is how the conference went, pretty much verbatim:
Me: Did you get a chance to pick up your daughter's report card?
Mom: Yes. No. I don't know.
Me: I see. Did you stop at the tables at the front?
Mom: Oh, yeah. Is it in here with all this stuff? I don't know anything.
Me: Yes. At any rate, she got an A- in English.
Mom: Oh, she'll be happy. She was upset 'cause she thought she got a B.
Me: Well, I looked at the body of her work this quarter, and she really is not a B student. She had one tough test, but the rest of her work is excellent. And she was only 5 points away, so--
Mom: Oh, I always knew she was smart. She was smart the minute she first came out.
Mom: Yep. They gave her right to me and she started nursing right away. It wasn't three minutes and she was nursing.
Me: (sideways glance at Andrew who is blushing furiously, head down, trying to read or write something)
Mom:...oh, she just (makes exaggerated "chomping" demonstration with mouth and head) got right on and nursed away! She knew right what to do! Now, my other ones, they had all sorts of trouble. They couldn't get on and I had all kinds of problems. But not her! (Smiles proudly; waits for my feedback)
Me: (at a loss) Well, there you go! Anyway, she has her "A", but this next quarter, she'll need to step it up and work hard to maintain it.
Mom: Oh, she will! She's a smart one! Well, thank you. (gets up and leaves)
Andrew: (looks at me, face red, shakes head uncomprehendingly) I'm...what...?...that's it.
Me: This is one for the Dept.