Saturday, October 26, 2013

Conferences & Maui Wrap-up

Thankfully, it has been just a bit less busy in the past week or so. Last weekend, Cade was sick for the entire weekend. The highlight of my birthday was getting out of the house in the afternoon to sit in a coffee shop that had all of the doors open, so that I could catch up on my reading for class. It was a beautiful day, and I was thankful for the fresh air that I hadn't experienced since early Friday afternoon.

The beginning of the quarter is always a little stressful--there is a lot of prep work to do--but it was so much nicer than the previous week! We only had four day of class and then nearly a twelve hour day of back to back conferences. We were exhausted by Friday night. 

Conferences with Korean parents are very different than what I am used to. Of course, much of my experience comes from meeting with parents at Sylvan. The meeting usually lasts between 15 and 20 minutes, and the parents do much of the talking. Sometimes, it seemed like more of a therapy session than anything else. The parents want to talk about their frustrations with their child, with the teacher, with the school, maybe even education in general.

This is not the case with Korean parents--even the ones who speak English fluently. Last year, when I began my conferences by asking a question to get them talking, I got a lot of responses about how they wanted to hear from me. It seemed that they wanted me to be that go-between, so that they didn't have to worry about actually talking to their child. This year, I told my students that their homework was to go home and talk to their parents about what was going on in class. Their parents' homework was to come in and be able to tell me something, anything.

I had an alarming number of parents tell me that yes, they were pretty sure their child had tried to tell them something, but they weren't listening. Seriously. They admitted to it. Suffice it to say, conferences are interesting. I do all of the talking--they have no questions, no agenda, which I suppose makes it easier. Honestly, it's not too hard. It's rare that I have an angry or rude parent. Most of them don't challenge how I do my job at all. They're concerned over whether or not their children have high As (an A- doesn't always do it) and how to prepare them for the SAT. That's about it.

Obviously, I am over-generalizing here. Some parents are legitimately concerned about their children's futures and others are just fulfilling the duty that is parent-teacher conferences. I am your parent, therefore I am going to check in with your teacher (just like we do for our kids). Either way, I'm glad they're over and I won't have to spend my day doing them again until February.

While we were in our long day of conferences, Cade got to go to his Halloween party at school and Kennedy spent the day with one of our high school neighbors. Cade was thrilled to dress up as Batman, thanks to friends who happen to have costumes hanging around. Kennedy enjoyed spending her day doing little crafts and getting treats with Kathryn.

On Saturday, Eric had a baseball game, of course. The kids and I decided to go out for brunch for my belated birthday celebration. Kennedy ordered the biggest plate of chocolate chip French toast that I have ever seen! They were both beyond thrilled by the experience! In the evening, we finally went out for my birthday celebration dinner, to a new Southern barbecue restaurant in Itaewon. It was pretty good!

I really planned on taking pictures this week, but it didn't happen. The leaves are still just starting to change around here, and Eric has been busy with baseball, so we still haven't taken our family photo that is becoming an annual tradition. Hopefully, we'll be able to make it a priority next weekend, though with playoffs for both teams beginning, everything else takes a backseat. 

I think this may be my last round of Hawaii pictures--all from my phone, obviously. Here's the recap from the top down:
Kennedy at the park in Evan and Jen's neighborhood :: Eric and I at the Maui Brewing Company tour sunset from Halealaka :: the kids enjoying homemade popsicles in the kitchen window
checking out a new beach :: baseball in the park :: preparing to watch the outdoor movie 
:: enjoying the outdoor movie--UP :: 
first experience with Hawaiian shave ice after an afternoon at the beach :: another beach day 
:: sunset dinner date night with good Indian food ::

Here's a completely random fact for the day: I was apparently published in the Stanwood/Camano Crab Cracker, which is a little publication printed in the Stanwood/Camano area. I used to peruse them every time I went somewhere in Stanwood and had to wait. They leave copies in the lobby at Sylvan, so I used to read through the calendar of events to find out what stuff was going on locally. One of my blogger buddies from Marysville happened to pick it up (and read all the way to page 39) where she recognized our picture and blog post. Apparently, my little blog is easier to find than I thought.  

I am also discovering that students are finding my blog at a much more alarming rate than before. Already, this school year I have had more than one student say that they have found it--that is not normal. It doesn't change what I post, but it does make me a little more aware that maybe it's not just our family reading what I write!

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