My wife and I had our first parent / teacher meeting recently. I have to admit; it was kind of strange for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Missy is three, so seriously, what were we there to talk about?
“Your daughter is progressing nicely, she is quite the finger painter. I do, however, think her “row-row-row the boat” singing has room for improvement”.
Second, Missy goes to a French speaking school. That’s perfect for her, as she speaks French. Of course, her teacher speaks English, but still, there is a language gap between her and me.
“Misseee, is une très extraordinaire student”. Well to be honest, the teacher’s English is excellent – as opposed to my French, (despite my wife and daughter being fluent), which is abysmal. I am taking lessons though. Well, I have done one so far; so unless the teacher simply wanted to ask my name (Je m’appelle Tim), we had little choice but to speak in English.
But go we did, to our first meeting to discuss my daughter’s progress in life. We arrived at her kindergarten, and as Missy wandered off to play, we were welcomed into her classroom. The teacher kindly waved us to our seats so we could begin the meeting. Now remember, Missy is three, so our “seats” are Lilliputian. And there I sat – the Father of Missy – knees up around my ears on a minuscule, yellow, plastic chair.
Pleasingly, it was almost all happy news. Missy had not yet displayed any homicidal tendencies; her French and English were both advanced for her age, and she is a “delight” to have in class. OK, this was terrific stuff. Just the kind of thing parents love to casually drop into conversations with other parents:
“Oh, Missy is going OK, I suppose. Her teacher is quite pleased. She can sing the French national anthem in German while solving quadratic equations in Latin. Her reading of ancient Greek seems to be a bit slow, but all in all, we are OK with that. How is your little one going?”
Oh the endless bragging potential this teacher was giving me. True, you have to try and say it to other parents as if you’re not bragging, but we all know the truth.
The problem, of course, is there is always going to be something that is not quite as you hoped. The “dark secret” of underperformance is always lurking, somewhere. That’s when the other parent strikes:
“Oh how wonderful! You must be so proud. And tell me, how is Missy going with her scooter? Still riding it like a drunken monkey? I see without her helmet she would be spending most days in the hospital accident and emergency”.
And then the knife twists:
“Of course, little Alexander is OK, I suppose. We don’t like it, but he insists on riding his scooter while doing a one-arm handstand. It’s quite annoying, but what can you do? It’s either that or he makes such a racket singing the Ethiopian Princess role from Aida. He is quite the three year old opera singer, really”.
But really, what’s wrong with being proud of your children? I truly believe Missy is the best little girl on earth, other parents think their little ones are the best, and we are all right.
So teacher time ends with a quiet word; “Missy does have a tendency to be a bit bossy, nothing serious, but she likes to try and organize the class.”
No, Madame teacher, it can’t be! MY little girl is perfect! Do you know she speaks French…?