Parent-teacher meetings: Count me in

Parent-teacher meetings: Count me in

I remember parent-teacher meetings from my school days.

I would sit squirming with embarrassment next to my mother as my teacher listed my misdeeds for the year.

In a convent school for demure girls, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Too talkative, too stubborn, too bold, careless, forgetful, doesn't play well with others - the litany of my sins went.

I remember my poor mum listening, nodding occasionally, as the teacher complained about me. It was always Mum, because Dad - like all dads in those days - had to work and could not take leave to attend.

As she listened, at particularly shocking revelations about my conduct, Mum would shoot me disapproving looks, telegraphing with her eyes that "you're going to get it from me when we get home".

Sometimes, I was made to wait outside while my parent and teacher conferred. But the results were often the same: Mum would emerge from the classroom shaking her head and I would be scolded all the way home.

Looking back, I think the teachers in my traditional Chinese school did not mince their words: if your child did something wrong, it reflected badly upon you, the parent.

It didn't matter that Mum is a kind, gentle and elegant woman - the fact that I was such a problem kid meant, in most teachers' eyes, that she had failed somehow to bring me up properly.

Times have changed.

Having just concluded the year-end round of parent-teacher meetings for my two sons, I am reminded of how the roles have changed.

Now, I am the mother who sits nodding as the teachers talk about issues and challenges that my children, one in Primary 1 and the other in Nursery 2, face.

My interactions with my kids' teachers are warm and encouraging.

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