Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Friday, October 21, 2011

Quietly Searching for My Inner Normality at Parent-Teacher Conferences

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.



  1. First of all, I think Ben is a pip! I love his observations and wise contributions to your life! Also - I struggle with the same type of issue, Joanne - TMI when in a parent/teacher interview. Our solution - my husband gently kicks me when I am saying too much, straying off topic, giving my opinion on things before the teacher even has a chance to offer their thoughts....needless to say, I have some sweet bruises on my shins this morning....:)

  2. So it's not just me! Thank you Lisa for letting me know I'm not the only one. I have never brought hubby - although he has gone alone before. That was probably a lot quieter interview. OK, if you have someone helping you and I reprogram my brain each time, maybe we can beat this problem. It's worth a try. Thanks for reading and for commenting!

  3. Oh, and Anonymous above is me, Joanne. I'm a little confused here. Joanne