What did you think when you read the title- PIT Day?

I doubt that the words “Parents in Touch” were the first thing to pop into your mind- but that is what the acronym stands for. PIT is the parent-teacher conference day in our district. I would like to meet the person who came up with that idea and find out what they were thinking. Parents in Touch… that sounds positive, hopeful. PIT Day… that kind of sounds like an insult.

My first PIT Day was the pits. My role during PIT is to be an interpreter for parents who speak Spanish. I have to say, I do not feel qualified for the honor. I do speak Spanish, but I am not bilingual… I am not fluent, even after years of practice. That first year, I felt so inadequate. It was an unseasonably hot and muggy fall day. Our building was not yet air conditioned. The humidity and nervousness got to me. I actually ended up sick before the day was over.

PIT Day has some perennial problems. The problems start as soon as scheduling begins. Morning and early afternoon are easy, but the times in the late afternoon and evening are quickly double, triple, or quadruple- booked. The problem is compounded as first one and then another and another person shows up late… or early- just not at the time they signed up for. We call on volunteers to help meet the need, but most years I have needed a good pair of running shoes to sprint up and down the halls to answer the call coming over the intercom, “Translator needed in Room 13.” This year was a little better… we moved everyone into the gym. Each classroom teacher had a table, and all were close together. I still missed meeting and talking to some parents of students I work with as conferences overlapped…

Parents in Touch has many touching moments. I love to see the pride parents have for their children, and their hope for them. A few times there has been some heartbreak- sometimes students have problems, and parents are not ready for that news. Many times I have been moved to tears by simple, but profoundly sincere, words of appreciation that parents offer to us, their children’s teachers. I hope my words of thanks to them for their support and for giving us the opportunity to work with their children (we are a magnet school, parents choose us) convey the same sincerity, that language is no barrier.

Do you have a special title for conference day at your school? What stories do you have about that day? … a real slice of life for teachers.


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4 Responses to PIT Day

  1. jee young says:

    Thanks for being so open with us! I definitely not think that PIT would stand for that! I’m glad to hear that despite some of the difficult moments, there were positive moments as well. It always so fascinating to see the relationship between parents and children during those conferences.

  2. janemartyn says:

    PIT day is the most hysterically horrible name for parent teacher conferences. Sorry, not a teacher, so I can’t swap stories, but I was encouraged to see that you obviously had so many parents show up. I used to work as an atty for a native american tribe, and I was heavily involved w/ truancy. We never had any parents show up to parent-teacher conferences. So, I started citing the parents for their children’s truancy and required they go to the PTC. I called them and reminded them before as well- next time they were in court, when I started updating the judge on the child’s progress, the parents would interrupt me b/c they wanted to tell the judge themselves about how well their child was doing. While unfortunate that it took a citation to get the ball rolling (although I didn’t enforce any fines), it was still the best feeling ever to watch those parents be excited about their kids’ education. Sounds like you are someone who appreciates that feeling as well! šŸ™‚

  3. Jaana says:

    Never would have guessed the true meaning for PIT Day! I am not sure how you could phrase that positively??? I would vote for a name change!

  4. Leigh Anne says:

    I love Parents in Touch. What a positive phrase. Much better than PIT days. We are trying student-led conferences for the first time this year…should be interesting!

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