Last week Linda and I attended parent teacher conferences for our daughter Gretchen. This was our first experience with junior high conferences, which were set up production style. I had imagined walking from class to class, mirroring Gretchen’s 7 period schedule and was surprised to find the entire teaching faculty spread around the perimeter of the gymnasium. Set back from each teacher about 10 feet was a line of blue tape on the floor along with a music stand. These were the cheap black metal ones typically found in schools and I had no idea of their role in the conferences.
The idea was for parents to find the teachers they’d like to meet with then wait behind the tape line for a chance to hear about their child. Each teacher’s desk held a sign reading, “Please Observe a 5 Minute Limit.” Gretchen is a 4.0 student so the limit really wasn’t at play in any of our discussions. On the last teacher, though, we waited for fifteen minutes while the mother of a boy labeled a troublemaker patiently shook her head. It was a bit frustrating and I would have left but we saved Gretchen’s favorite teacher for last. Mrs. Frost, I’ll call her, and she teaches ‘Language Arts’ which is a fancy name for reading and writing. Linda and I sat down and the conversation began much like the others, “Gretchen is incredible this and amazing that.”
“Tell me something I don’t know,” I thought. And then she did.
“The thing that’s so tricky about language arts,” Mrs. Frost continued, “Is that each child is at such a different level. I have to make sure each one understands things like complex sentence structures and independent clauses. This is difficult stuff for most 7th graders.”
I’ve been writing this blog for about 4 months now and having a good time doing it. I get the impression most of you enjoy it too. I’m not, however, completely sure what either a complex sentence structure is nor how to identify one. Kids these days, huh?