I Hate Conferences

Parent/Teacher conferences were last night. Ruby is having some trouble with her letter spacing, so her teacher suggested an activity that she could do at home. She was giving us some related materials and before she handed them to me, she asked if Ruby had any books to read at home. W.T.F does that mean? I was so stunned, it didn’t even occur to me at the time to ask her what she meant. It could’ve been an innocent question: there is a reading log for pizza points program which we don’t participate in b/c I think it’s ridiculous to reward children for something as simple as reading…and with food no less. Can we say “future food issues”? So, maybe she thought we didn’t participate b/c we have no Concept 2 Model D (but damn, the public library is two blocks from the school!) But it could’ve also been a race related question.

Yes, I always have to take it there. I’m a black woman, and that’s how it goes. The school my children now attend is less diverse in every way than their last one. It’s one of the best rated schools in a well rated district. At our last school, I would make small gifts for the holidays and special days for their teachers b/c I wanted to. At the new school, I got a letter informing me of the teacher’s birth date and her likes (which included Nordstrom) and dislikes. I was also asked in the letter if I’d like to contribute to a Nordstrom’s gift card for the teacher. Um, no, but if Ruby wants, she can make a card! Maybe I should send a letter with my likes and dislikes to the room moms…hey, I like Nordie’s, too!

At our last school, we saw faces of all colors and had families from different socio-economic backgrounds. At our current school, the parking lot is filled with luxury cars and the occasional brown face peeks out in the halls among a sea of white ones. I know there are plenty of parents who would love for their children to attend such a “good” school, but that doesn’t make it perfect. The classes are large IMO, which means children like Ruby (who is quite meek in public) tend to not get noticed as much. A classmate bothered her for some time without the teacher noticing Ruby putting her hand up to complain. I finally spoke to the teacher in person and emailed her and Ruby was moved. Her teacher knows few personal details about Ruby and was in fact, surprised to learn that Ruby has an older brother who attends the school. How messed up is that?

If I don’t like it…why don’t I pull them out? Homeschool or private school? I can afford neither one of those options at present as I actually have to work now. In any event, doing either one of those things would not fix public schools for all the other optionless families.

It makes me a bit sad that so far her experience isn’t shaping up to be that great. Part of it is that she really misses our little neighborhood school: she had her best friend since age two across the hall, and teachers who knew her long before she ever entered their classrooms. I don’t think any place will ever come close to her beloved and now idealized Texas Elementary.

I’m still miffed about the Honeywell HFD-010 thing though. I mean, what was she thinking when she asked if we had books in our home. Wait, maybe she wasn’t thinking. That makes more sense to me. Thankfully, all this “drama” has taken place mostly in my head, with a little told to my mom (who wasn’t angry enough for my liking, she was busy making phone calls for Obama), and now some on the page. The kids aren’t aware of this at all, and I’m going to be hopeful that Ruby’s teach doesn’t treat her like some type of bookless ragamuffin (though bookless ragamuffins deserve equal education, whatever their parents might decide that is)…and that we make it through the year without other ridiculous comments that cause me to rant on my blog!

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