I got through parent-teacher conferences this morning. I talked to two of my son's teachers. I don't think I humiliated anyone, this time.
In communicating with my son's teachers, right from kindergarten, I have a bad record of feeling like I've said the wrong thing or offered more information than they could possibly want to hear. In other situations too, I have a tendency to revisit conversations in my mind and wonder if I've said the wrong thing. With my son's teachers though, I may be right about saying the wrong thing or, at least, saying way too much of the right thing. I don't think they need to know
- my educational history from elementary grades to university and continuing ed courses
- that I'm from Toronto and like to go back to visit it
- that I have rabbits, two right now, and my whole history of having rabbits as pets
- my interesting in writing and my preferred genres
- my breakfast choices and what I plan to have for lunch
- my feelings on any number of subjects
- my son's birth story and how I feel about that
I don't think I've delved into all those topics (yet) or at least not to this level of detail. But I have talked. And while the information itself is generally quite irrelevant, the fact that I start spewing it may be of interest to them. I wonder what they've recorded about me. I wonder if I have my own file.
In other situations, I do not demand a lot of conversational time. Clearly, I like saying things in written form. Maybe because, as an introvert, I appreciate situations where I can take time and put some thought into what I am saying, the short interview set-up intimidates me. My son and his education matter a great deal to me and it's a big deal to have a chance to exchange information about him. As well, authority figures may be a bit of an issue. Maybe I still want approval for things from my past. Whatever the explanation, maybe it's ok that I go a little crazy in this setting. Maybe.
Today, on the way to school, I let my son in on my concerns and desire to do well this time. I came up with some thoughts to guide me:
- It's better to say nothing than something stupid.
- Nodding can be ok.
My son came up with the best line (as usual) of all:
"Find your inner normality."
He can say that - he knows me well.
This time, I found my inner normality. I listened and, while I hope I said appropriate things, at least I know I didn't provide too much information. It was a better experience.
I was impressed with the teachers with whom I spoke. I am proud of my son and his effort and approach to school. Keeping quiet, and out of the spotlight, I enjoyed parent-teacher conferences this time.