Molly’s In Charge

           “Come ON, mom!” Molly said as we hustled down the hall, “we don’t wanna be late!” It was “student-led conference” day at school, and we only had a half hour time slot. The one time I should be punctual, and I couldn’t find a clean pair of pants. Why do I have fourteen pairs of sweats and only one decent pair of trousers? That math ain’t addin’ up!

            We hurried into Molly’s class, which was bright and clean. What struck me first was the lack of smell; my entire childhood centered around the smell of chalk and musty books, but those aromas were nowhere to be found. The chalkboard had been replaced with a whiteboard and dry-erase markers, and the books were brand new and plentiful. Talk about upgrades! “This is where I sit,” Molly said, pointing to a little desk that came up to my shins, “you sit here and I’ll esplain everything!” I crouched awkwardly into a baby-sized plastic chair, nearly swallowing my knees. This had better be quick; my joints were gonna snap like a rubber band.

            “Student-led” conferences were a brand-new concept to me; they had nothing of the sort when I was a wee lass. I remember teacher conferences, when the dried-up old prunes who taught me listed everything I’d done wrong. “She doesn’t pay attention,” one of them sniffed, “she prefers reading instead of listening.” I mean, could you blame me? Who wants to listen to a raspy-voiced cigarette-stained saddlebag natter on, when I could be lost in a fantasy world? These visits always included praise from my parents and encouragement to pay closer attention. I’d start listening when the lessons started to be interesting!

            But my daughter was another story. For the next thirty minutes, she told me all about her science, reading, and writing lessons. She showed me how to count coins, how to add and subtract, and how to sound out unfamiliar words. My little baby was growing up! “That’s terrific, sweetie! I’m so proud of you!” I said, giving her a big hug. “Thanks,” she replied, like it was no big deal. I’m so glad Molly has teachers that encourage and support her. She’s learning and growing in leaps and bounds; she’s gonna be smarter than me, that’s for sure. Maybe she’ll be a teacher herself; after the way she schooled me, she’s off to a good start!