This was inspired by Rafi at Life in Israel who was talking about his recent experience with Parent-Teacher conferences.
As bad as everyone over there comments that their conferences were I still think mine was the worst. Why? Well because of one word: disorganization.
A little background info first. My son is 5.5 and goes to a cheider where they have two years of gan (ages 3 and 4) and then start first grade. So my son started first grade this year and now knows how to read and is learning to write in script letters. I'm not going into my feelings about this right now and I won't be discussing the fact that we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. This year they moved the gan and first and second grades to a fenced in area where the Beis Yaacov school used to be before they built a building. The area is made of 4 caravans and an area for bathrooms as well as an open area in the middle for playing. There is no playground because they haven't put it up yet. Don't ask me why.
For the past two years they have had ganenot teaching them, with a rebbi coming in to teach alef bet. This year they have a rebbi. Luckily the Rebbi that my son has happens to be an English speaker who made aliya at age 4 with his family. We were so happy when we heard this and it's definately help with the transition to first grade. Unfortunately, this Rebbi has only one year of subbing experience behind him. That means he's a new teacher. That was me about two years ago. Boy do I remember how hard that was.
Because he's an English speaker and because I know what he's been though I am trying very hard to bite my tongue and not criticize every little thing. I must say that he is trying really really hard to make it work. It seems like the administration is really behind him also. Despite that there are a number of things that aren't going so well. This Rebbi is the nicest man. He's just nice. The boys in my sons class however aren't. They eat him alive. They are the nastiest little rugrats you've ever seen. There are some I'd even call delinquiints. Why? Well there are the boys who took apart a wooden bench one time. There's the boy who opened the soragim on the window, climbed out, went behind the caravan, under a fence that connects the girls can to the boys gan, and walked out the girls gan door in order to escape. They are a tough group. My son is not like this. He's more like the Rebbi-nice. Luckily, the biggest trouble maker has already left the class. Another not so calm boy went back to gan. There are still two big trouble makers there. They have the most involved parents. Those mothers are the ones to bake cakes for the parties and to organize things. I guess they're like the PTA of his class.
So, last week my son came home from cheider on Friday as usual. No note or anything. As I'm reading his daf kesher on Shabbos morning, I see that at the end there is a line about how parent teacher conferences will be motzei Shabbos at 8. That's right, I found out the day of. How bout that? I have no idea why we didn't get something earlier but again I'm sure the Rebbi got that complaint from many many other parents and I'd like him to think of us as the parents who are giving him a chance. Luckily my in-laws were at our house and babysat.
My hubby and I went to the conference. My sons gan is located in a very windy part of the yishuv. We got there after 8:15 and the Rebbi still hadn't gotten there. We thought it was going to be a general meeting but we were wrong. We wrote our name on the list but there were like 7 people ahead of us. Luckily my hubby brought his gemara-smart thinking. So we stood outside in the dark cold area between the caravans. There was no hot tea, no heat on, no chairs to sit on while we wait. It was wonderful. Oh wait, and I brought the baby because he might want to nurse right? So I decided I'd place him in the caravans for the gan. There they had a nice table set with pretty plates and napkins. The mothers get a nice small meal and heat and tea and coffee. How nice? Yea, I was jealous. They were nice and warm and we were freezing our tootsies off outside.
There were no appointments nor did anyone say how long everyone should take. Like I said: disorganized! Everyone took as long as they needed to. The poor Rebbi ended up leaving after 11. I think he should have just slept there rather than going back to Yerushalayim at night. I felt so bad for him. I'm sure he heard sooooooo many complaints. What's for sure is that those complaining have never been in his place and probably don't know what it's like to manage a class with 20+ wild boys. Well we survived the conference and I hope that this Rebbi survives this year.
May Hashem give him the right words to say to each boy in order to instruct them in the way that's best for them. May he help us raise them to merit learning Torah with a love and passion. May he succeed in modeling how one acts bein adam l'chaveiro so that they grow up with wonderful middos.