Parent/Teacher Conference Moments, Ranked

Now that I've completed ten full years of teaching and been a part of MANY parent/teacher conferences, I can reflect on them with a sense of humor. Over the years I HAVE been part of many wonderful and productive conferences. This is NOT that list! (**These are all hypothetical, of course!)
  1. 8.
    Stood up
    I've been stood up for more conferences than... I can't even think of a good joke. I know most parents/guardians setup and confirm conferences with the best intentions but stuff that is more urgent comes up or takes priority. But at least call or write!
  2. 7.
    Little siblings tearing apart the classroom
    I'm glad when the parents and students attend. In fact, I always recommend that the students attend. I'm a huge advocate of student led conferences because it gives students more ownership of their learning. I know that some parents are only able to attend if they bring the entire family and I get that. But bring something to entertain the little ones. I've had to get up mid-conference and find something to distract the 3 year old from taking everything off of my bookshelves.
  3. 6.
    Breast Tattoos
    It was my first set of conferences, my first year with my own classroom. It was in rural North Carolina (still hot in October) and this mother walked in with a very ill-fitting shirt. When she and her daughter sat down at the table (I taught 3rd grade at the time so the tables weren't super low but comfortable for 8-9 year olds) her poorly supported breasts plopped right down on the table. I remember noticing tattoos and can't remember what they were. I think they were names and dates.
  4. 5.
    "What do I sign so you can spank my child?"
    Again, in rural NC, ten years ago, there was a county nearby that still used "corporal punishment in schools." My naïve face must have been priceless. I don't remember what I said. Although when it happened again this past year, NOT in rural NC, I said, "That's illegal and even if it weren't, I don't feel comfortable spanking your ten year old."
  5. 4.
    Smell Like Alcohol
    Pretty self explanatory! After it happened the first time, I mentioned it to my principal. The parent was pretty quiet and in no way rude or belligerent. The kids weren't with them and that parent wasn't driving. "We'll keep an eye on it. I'm pretty sure they already have a case open."
  6. 3.
    Showed Texts and Instagram Screenshots
    This is becoming more common as parents are navigating their way through introducing the use of phones into their kids' lives. I get it! Props to all of you parents. But, it is frustrating when a parent brings screenshots of comments made on their child's Instagram account(not during school hours) from other kids at the school. I have to give my "well I suggest you have your child block these accounts, make their accounts private, ask them to show you the features of their accounts" speech.
  7. 2.
    Asked About Saying Pledge in Spanish
    This is one that recently caught me off guard. Each morning, during the announcements the birthdays, school motto, Pledge of Allegiance (in English & Spanish), etc is said. A student's parents asked, "We were just curious why the pledge is said in Spanish first?" I thought about it and said, "Well, we are a dual-immersion school and we have a large Spanish speaking population. I think it's said first in Spanish so those kiddos can get to class." Them: Dissatisfied faces Me: Mind Blown
  8. 1.
    Vaping
    Oh memories! A student's parent pulled out a vape pen and starting filling it with liquid tobacco or e-liquid or whatever it is called. Again, my face must have given me away because the student's mom stopped rocking the carrier with the two-month old to tell her new husband TWICE, "You can't do that in here." I chimed in, "We are a tobacco free campus." New husband (and father) says to mom, "I'm sorry baby. I won't do it again." AWKWARD and MIND BLOWN!!!!