Posted in Dillan's Struggles

Check the Oversize Ego at the Parking Lot

Dillan on the first day of first grade. 2007

One of my proudest moments as a young mother was attending parent-teacher conferences, fully expecting to hear nothing but high praises about my children. I’m sure many parents feel the same way about elementary school parent-teacher conferences, too. You hardly hear dreadful news about your child falling behind in class, because there’s a promise that your child won’t when The No Child Left Behind Act is enforced.

So I had my glorious days of strutting into Dillan’s classroom with an oversize ego. I sat across the desk from Ms. Uptain, Mrs. Robison, Mrs. Cram, and Mrs. Hardy, getting my awesome mom recognition until Mrs. Judd came along . . .

Mrs. Judd, the fourth grade teacher of the gifted program, was the first teacher who talked to me about Dillan in a different tone of voice––a mixture of impatience, frustration, and accusation.

“Dillan wouldn’t stop talking to the kid next to him in class when I was talking.”

“Dillan didn’t turn in his homework.”

“I had to send Dillan out to the hall three times today. Three times!”

I remember thinking the first time I heard Mrs. Judd’s complaint, “Sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln, what’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just be amazed by Dillan’s intelligence like all of his previous teachers?”

But soon I started to get phone calls from school. There’s hardly any good phone calls from school. And that was when my strut stopped and my oversize ego checked at the school parking lot.


Allison Merrill is a full-time mother and a writer.

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