Thursday, January 10, 2008

Parent Teacher Conference

I have tried not to write too many disparaging details about my children but today I can't stop myself.

I went to the new age form of parent/teacher conference that we have here in Utah called SEPs (Student Education Plan). These SEPs are a feel good kind of event where the children get to talk about what they do well and what they can improve and set goals that are touchy feely.

I realize that as a parent my responsibility is to support my children through school by being on top of their homework, monthly assignments, etc. I also know that there is a school website where I can access information like "missed assignments."

I have not been accessing this website this year because at our last SEP conference all was well. My children were up on all assignments and doing just fine.

Yesterday's conference was completely different in one way. My children were missing assignments, lots of assignments. M's teacher informed me that he was missing 6 assignments. This was disappointing but manageable. I could also find the assignments online and print them off for him to complete. S's teacher never said word one about missing assignments. The SEP was feel good as usual, with little blips about how S is struggling more due to social pressure to talk during class. I went home and today got online to see what she was missing. 25 assignments. Yep, 25.

Holy Cow!!! Why was this not mentioned???? I know I have my responsibility and I have been slacking off due to my own school requirements. However, doesn't the teacher have a bit of a responsibility to call this to the parent's attention?

I am dumbfounded and currently my children hate me because I have informed them that they are grounded from EVERYTHING until these assignments are finished, regardless of whether or not their teachers will accept the late work.

Weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth.


Julie J. said...

Holy Cow! Here is some unsolicited advice for which I am so famious: Jeanna, You need to set them up on a schedule to catch up...Something like this - First print off a list of all they owe. Then say, "After you finish today's homework, you will need to complete three assignments that are late. You will bring them to me and we will check them off the list together." If they know they can get it done in smaller increments you will have better results and they will do a higher quality job. Also, it will prevent them from continuing to fall behind. Hold to the grounding or they won't take your schedule seriously. M will be caught up in two days and S in about a week and a half, which seems like a long time, but she probably didn't fall that far behind in a week and a half.
Anyway, sorry for acting like a know it all.

Holley, Dane Brien & Wesley Berry said...

Jeanna I feel your pain. This year Dane and I tried to let Brien take more responsibility for his homework load. We had a long talk with him about planning and organization and said that he needed to learn to be independent as this was his senior year and college was looming. Talk about a big backfire. He pretty much blew off an entire semester for his AP history class. I asked him almost every day about homework, tests etc. He would smile and say "I've got it covered" Well no word from his teacher and his first report card comes out and it's a D-. I blew a gasket. It has been a struggle to get him caught up and he has finals next week and I'm sending up hourly prayers that he will pass this class, or else he'll have to repeat it next semester or he will not graduate, nor will he get into college. You try not to be a helicopter parent and let your kids grow-up and they shoot you in the foot. That's gratitude for you.

mom/Janet said...

Yikes!!!! Good thing you didn't know that on Monday or you would have felt guilty taking them out of class on Tues. All that aside, don't beat yourself up over this. Yes, you should follow up on what your kids are doing but especially Savannah is old enough to know that she has an assignment to hand in and that she's getting behind. Unfortunately it will take them along time to regain your trust when they say their homework is done. We struggled for a long time with Dane not handing in assignments. I felt desperate at times. Ask him what his thinking process was and what he's learned from it. Maybe he could give you some insight. Hang in there - - you're on the right track now and I concur with Julie 100%

jeff said...

It's stories like this that make me glad I have no children. I don't think I could handle it. Good luck.

acote2 said...

not that i have children in school but I remember what mom and dad did for me when I was in h.s. I got behind in one of my classes so EVERYDAY i had to take a paper to my teacher that said what the assignment was for that day. My teacher had to then sign it. I'd bring it home and show mom and dad. Then I had to finish that assignment before doing anything else. This went on for 6 weeks til my grade came up in the class. It's a hassle for the student and that's why HOPEFULLY when it's over she'll keep up on the assignments so she won't have to do that again. Just a thought!

Juliew8 said...

Gee I can't wait till my kids are old enough for actual homework. Right now I struggle just to get them to read everyday like their supposed to. I'll be calling for advice in the next year or two. Hang in, you have great kids, I guess we all try to get away with things as long as we can.

Kathy said...

I am on your side.
Having to battle the missing assignments with some of my students is a pain.
I send home a weekly progress report and every other week the parents sign it. Whether they look at it is an other story.
We did have some scrambling before Christmas and it slumped back again after break. In these cases the principal even wondered where the parents were before and after.
Hang in there and always follow through on your demands.

Aunt Beth said...


Altho I've not had children, I was privileged to take care of William and Janet's children MANY times over the years. Janet's response reminded me of one time in particular. Once they arrived at one of their destinations enroute, William called to give me the hotel's fax number. Homework was completed and faxed for review. Receipt of the fax was followed by a LENGTHY phone conversation between William and one of the children.

I remember returning to NY after that visit and telling the ladies I worked with that homework these days was MUCH different than when I was growing up. Much.

Hang in there. Your children are fortunate to have parents who care.

Aunt Beth

Abbie said...

So I haven't been checking blogs for a while. I don't laugh at your situation but at the audacity that S would be missing 25 ASSIGNMENTS! Holy Cow! I feel guilty when I show up to class not having read the assignment for the day. I won't give advice but let me tell ya, my parents sure laid the smack down with us when anything like this happened. I'm starting to think about what I would do for my own kids.

Masters Of Disasters said...

Are seps are in 2 wks, and now I am scared!!! I hope we don't have anything missing, because I am already consumed with their homework. I don't know maybe it's just me, but I don't ever remember having this much homework when I was in school. I think that it is funny when they send a note home at the beginning of the year that says, your child should only take about 30 minutes a night to do all their homework. Ha ha. i don't think they take in consideration families that have more than 1 child. And I spend 30 minutes alone nagging them so they will stay on task.
Well now I feel better after getting all my frustration out, thanks !!!