As a parent and a former teacher, I recognize the importance of parents attending teacher conferences where they can speak one-on-one with the teachers of their children. In a span of five minutes, a teacher may be able to unearth the cause of what might be a long-standing or potential problem of a child in the classroom. At the same time, a parent has the opportunity to scrutinize the teacher to decide if the teacher is a good match for her child or to affirm or deny the statements of their child concerning the teacher, whether they are pro or con.
When my adult children were still in school, my husband and I made a point of attending teacher conference night at their school. In our town, it was a very social night out for a man and wife and we looked forward to seeing our friends and neighbors in this pleasant circumstance.
It was not the case in the inner city school where I taught in those early years. As my husband used to say, “you could shoot a cannon through the halls” in my school as it was so absent of visitors. This was a few decades ago. I trust that things have turned around since that time.
Today we have a role model for family values in the White House. A newspaper release today states that President and Mrs. Obama made an early morning trip to the Sidwell Friends School where their two girls are enrolled, in order to attend the parent-teacher conference on that day. Malia, 11 years old, is in the sixth grade at the school’s D.C. campus, and Sasha, 8 years old, is a third grader at the Bethesda, Md. campus. On this particular day, they were back at the White House by 9:30 a.m. to take care of business. The parents have visited their daughters’ school three other times since they moved to Washington.
The school was aware that Mrs. Obama would be coming in, but they were pleasantly surprised that President Obama was with her also, along with the ever-present Secret Service men. The Obamas have always attended school functions for their daughters, even during the hectic campaign for the White House.
The President and First Lady also make a point of attending the girls’ soccer and basketball games at the school, where they can be seen cheering on the sidelines. What wonderful parental role models we have in them.
This is just one example of the impact which the four Obamas are making in our world today. I look forward every day to stories of the First Family and feel intense pride that we Americans have sought to place them in the White House.
www.buffalonews.com, October 19, 2009
www.nytimes.com, October 19, 2009