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Parent conferences

Parents make an appointment for their conferences here at Hangzhou International School (HIS). They do this with their child's advisor. I have nine students in my ninth grade advisory class. I have ten scheduled appointments due to needing to meet with a tenth grade boy that's struggling in my math class. Of course these are voluntary. A little different than I'm used to in the states.

I've got this parent meeting thing down. After doing them for so long I've learned what they want to hear and what they need to hear. They need to hear about specific problems and specific solutions. They want to hear about how great their kid is. Well, that's not exactly true. The good students have parents that get their kicks about hearing how wonderful their kid is. In those meetings I find I end up talking about outside interests like basketball or golf. Several of the kids here need other interests and outlets to have some relaxed fun. They live pressure packed lives for teenagers. I tried to encourage the parent to let their kid get involved with something they like and can do for fun. Something where it's okay to not have it tied to an amazingly successful future. Just fun.

For students that are struggling they need to hear about resources. Homework help. Office hours. They need to hear that their kid has to own their own learning. The students need to seek help or it won't matter. If it's forced on them it's not going to lead to long term success, but it might be a short term solution.

I finished my final conference. I'm sitting at my desk pondering how to use my last half hour of the day. Put my head on my desk and close my eyes? Try to sneak out and order some dinner? No. Those things didn't happen. Tony Cohen (English guy) steps into my room and closes the door. He gives me the "we need to talk" line. I'm thinking, okay, what the hell did I do wrong? Thankfully he put me at ease for the moment by telling me I didn't do anything wrong. I'm like, great so who screwed the oooch?

Tony tells me about my student named Cindy. She's in one of my 8th grade classes. Apparently her mother has "juice". Juice? Yeah. She's all juicy. WTF? Tony told me the Chinese word for it, but I didn't write it down. It sounded like Mr. Miagi. Mysogy? Myshooki? Ooki-pooki? Whatever. Apparently Cindy's mom has got it going on, with Chinese government officials. He went on to tell me that I need to be careful and make sure that my Is are crossed my Ts are dotted, or something like that. Cindy isn't a good student. She does little work and often meanders through her day sort of day dreaming. She turned in a test last week with half of it blank. So of course I have to ask what this means. What should be doing, not doing? He tells me to do my job, but be super careful not to insult the mom. Apparently she could make life difficult for me. Not sure what that means, but now I have a bit of fear that she's going to juice me. I'll be looking into this more and reporting back. Wish me luck.

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Mike Durkee
Mike Durkee
Nov 08, 2022

Yep, it's official... I would already be incarcerated if I was teaching there. How many times was I called into the principals office for something I said in personal finance? SEVERAL. I especially like the time that Tim (yes that Tim) called me into his office to let me know I couldn't call parents, who carry a credit card balance from one month to the next for literally their kids entire life. idiots. Did I stop doing that... uh, no. Hard to argue truth.


Oct 25, 2022

Never happens back here in the land of the free … unless you count the Hoyts hiring a private detective to investigate Steve and me several years back.


I remember Paige saying something like this about her time in Turkey. If she is reading this, .aybe she can share more. I just remember her bringing up something about their government monitoring what went on in classrooms.

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