In other words, I should have stayed at home.
Conferences at the middle school are now TEACHER-LESS. I brought Hayley to the school at the appointed time yesterday (8:20 a.m.---arggh! what was I thinking?). Since I'd been given fake child at 6 a.m., she came along too. So the three of us drive the 10 minutes to the school, get out of the van straight into an arctic blast (it's another cold weekend here in the land of 10,000 frozen nosehairs). We can't run on the sidewalk because it's an ice sheet, so it was slow going to the front door, miles away from where we parked. Finally we insert ourselves into the warmth of the foyer of the school and walk the next several miles in relative comfort. I don't see anyone but a few other parent/child combos. I don't see any staff. No one points the way. There is one signpost in the middle of a hallway intersection that wobbles slightly as the ghost of a breeze passes by. The sign says "Boo Fa r." Someone must have erased the "k" and "i" from "Book Fair."
We get to the cafeteria where the 6th grade conferences are held. Not a school district employee in sight. Seriously. The only other humans present were another parent/child couple sitting quietly at a far table. Sitting on one table as we walked in were bins with blue folders, grouped according to homeroom (in this district they call it "primetime" and it's in the middle of the day) teacher. I found Hayley's folder and she ducked out to use the bathroom. Fake child and I sat down and fake child chattered away about this and that. Finally Hayley came back. We looked over her grades, decided all was well, and looked around, wondering what we were supposed to do next. The actual conference took all of two minutes.
Still no teachers. I suppose we could have hunted them down, but I didn't want to expend any more energy into this farce.
Next time, I am writing a note when conference sign-up forms are sent home. This is what I am going to say:
"It is ridiculous for me to drive all the way down here to the school to sit at a cafeteria table (with not a teacher in sight) and talk to my daughter about her grades. I can have a teacherless conference with her at home. If you, or any of her other teachers, need to discuss an issue with me that you think I am not aware of, email or call me. I encourage the discussion of any problems. But I'm not going to chase you down just to ask you if there are issues that I need to be made aware of. And if I thought there were concerns, I would contact you. But I am not wasting my time by driving all the way to the school just to talk to my daughter. I know how she is doing in school--the ability to track her grades, absences, tardies, and disciplinary issues on the internet make that very easy to do from home."
I do like public school. It's a better option for our family than homeschooling. Not that I don't think I am capable of teaching them or that they are capable of learning at home; it's more that I am not organized enough to do it and we would probably all hate it and hate each other. I need that time while they are at school to clear my head. And they need to be away from me too. They need to interact with others. And they wouldn't get that here. I don't like to leave the house. Which is why I am so mad that the parent-teacher-child conference was WITHOUT THE TEACHER.