How do they know?

By Mir
March 23, 2010

Early Dismissal (school definition):
The three days in a row set aside for parent-teacher conferences when school lets out after just half a day. This process is designed to facilitate greater teacher-parent interfacing and to accommodate everyone’s scheduling needs.

Early Dismissal (reality definition):
The three days in a row set aside for parent-teacher conferences when school lets out after just half a day. This process is designed to fall on the busiest three days of my life, such that I not only fall behind on all of my regular work, but so that having the kids home and having eleventy doctors’ appointments scheduled makes for mass chaos.


  1. Rini

    “accommodate everyone’s scheduling needs” during business hours? Not Likely!

  2. Niki

    Fortunately (or maybe not) our school (where I also work) just lets the kids out for 2 days at conferences. This is fine now that mine are old enough to stay home by themselves, but was a real pain in the butt when I had to be here and they would hang out with me ALL DAY while I was trying to work.

  3. Jamie

    Ours works exactly the same way! Our kids have to make up a snow day on a Saturday in April. I’m secretly so thrilled to have a few kid-free Saturday hours to get some “me” stuff done!

  4. Alicia

    Making up a snow day on a Saturday! I’m not sure how I would have felt about that as a kid but as an adult with kids? woohoo
    In my high school that was known as saturday detention. Maybe two birds, one stone at your school?

  5. Beth B.

    Our school district lets out early for the WHOLE WEEK. and yes then the conferences are set for an oh-so convenient window of time from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

  6. Lucinda

    We do whole days and I would much prefer that over half days because at least you get to sleep in.

  7. StephLove

    My third-grader missed nine days due to weather this winter. My preschooler missed more. I stopped counting because it was too depressing.

    Anyway, there are four days built into the calendar for emergency cancellations and after that they are supposed to extend the school year. Every year they send home a schedule showing what day school will end if there are X number of cancellations. But guess what: IT WAS ALL A LIE. The school district applied for a waiver and school is ending on the originally scheduled date. If it were up to me, I’d shorten the week and a half spring break by a couple days then add the rest to the end of the year, but it’s not up to me. I am so bitter. (And yes, I do work at home, why do you ask?)

  8. hecticmom

    Here has been our month:

    Week of Feb. 15th: Off the entire week for presidents week. (huh?)

    Week of Feb. 22nd: Minimum day on Monday so teachers can fill out report cards (huh?) The kids get out of school at 1:20 on a REGULAR day – they don’t have time after school?

    Week of March 1st: Minimum days all week long for parent teacher conferences that can be scheduled from 1:30 – 3:30.. awesome… I work an hour from home – no matter how you slice it, I pretty much need to take the day off for conferences.)

    Week of March 29th: Spring Break – (this is a given)

    Considering there was SO MUCH TIME OFF this month – I’ve had to take a tremendous amount of time off work. It’s not like they have daycamps for presidents week or parent teacher conferences. Ugh… I’m really fed up. How are these kids supposed to learn if they aren’t actually spending any time in school…

    (your post came at the wrong time for me – I just learned that I can’t take spring break off because I’ve taken so much other time off in the past few weeks and I’m scrambling to get my kids in some sort of activity next week… *sigh*)

  9. bethany

    Also many teachers schedule the conferences before and after regular school days anyhow so they can go to the beach on those half days. I know, I was one of those teachers. Now that I am the parent, I APOLOGIZE!

  10. Amy

    My school is super small, so we manage to get all the conferences done in one day of no classes. But at the big middle school I used to teach at, we had this completely insane way of doing it–all the teachers would have 5 days over the course of the year for conferences during the school day, where we met in teams with the parents for 15 minutes a pop. For all 5 teachers to talk. What were the kids doing during this time? Going through their regular school day–with subs in every class. No good can come of middle school kids have five different subs in one day.

    I’m actually supposed to be preparing to meet with parents this Thursday, but I’m reading blogs instead. So if you are the parent of one of my kids and I sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s why.

  11. just beaux

    Oh my. When my daughters were both in grade school we could schedule their conferences between 4 and 7 and we had three days to choose from. When the oldest went to junior high (7th and 8th grades) we had to be there between 4 and 8 and it was first come first serve. There is a group of teachers who would place tables out in the hallway and they would be lined up right next to each other. You would show up and the Alpha male teacher would tell everyone who showed up to get in his line first and then move on down to last teacher. He would spend 3 minutes and that was it. As you went from line to line the lines got longer because the teachers all spent whatever time was necessary with the students and their parents. The last teacher was the worst because she took 20 minutes or longer with each group of parents. By that time the Alpha male guy had already gone home and was resting comfortably I’m sure. This guy really makes us mad because every time we show up he looks at our daughter and says: Name? The first time we were mad about it, but I figured he has a lot of students and we’re three months into the year, but three months later he did it again. Next time I might just kick his teeth in.

  12. Megan

    Yup. Sums it up.

  13. Brigitte

    The only reason I can schedule one at all in the available time slots is because I am a SAHM. If I was still working, there would be no P/T conference for me. Hubby can’t go because – oh, yeah – work.

    And then I have to drag my child WITH me to the conference, because I don’t have any alternate care for her, which kind of blows the point of the teacher being able to openly discuss my child’s progress.

  14. Kim in Minnesota

    Not to mention the subsequent days off to allow teachers to regain the time they spent on parent conferences. Huh. To think that my own teachers accomplished all of this during the evenings (when parents are actually available) and without comp time off. Between conferences and Spring Break, our school is only in session about half the month of March.

  15. Katie in MA

    It would be so much easier for me if they would set up p/t conferences after school. I know that puts the burdens on the teachers, but couldn’t we work that into their contract and compensate them somehow? I’m just talking once a quarter or maybe twice a year. As a single mom, between dr’s and dentists appointments (for the girls AND for me), I run out of time I can take off for other necessary things like p/t conferences. Thank goodness my kids aren’t struggling and her teacher is readily available for frequent email convos.

  16. D

    My principal needs to talk to your principal. We NEVER get days off…we even gave up all our Monday holidays this year and cut 2 days off Christmas break!! Snow days? Psshhhaw! She might do a late start…but not the whole day unless she has absolutely no choice…usually called at 6 am. We get no teacher in-service days…we have a late start day each quarter for that and we meet on a Saturday when needed (granted she lures us with really, really good food) and we come back early in the summer to do our professional development. Our parent conferences start after school and go until 7 pm. It’s crazy…I kind of envy your teachers all the extra “prep” time.

  17. Julie

    And OF COURSE it happens when I have to be in Portland, or Seattle, or somewhere that is NOT at home.

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