Like Mother, Like Daughter

It was two and a half hours of one family after the next. Some mothers came alone, other parents came as couples and still others brought their daughters along. It was parent-teacher evening, one of the most tiring yet most productive events in the school calendar.

"Esther* has a hard time staying focused..." my voice trailed off. 
I smiled a sad smile as I watched the mother's eyes wander off to the corner of the room.
My audience had lost focus. 

Like mother, like daughter.
Does she stand a chance?

Family connections are a funny thing. Students are regularly compared to their siblings (and mothers!). Younger sisters are often "figured out" before they've had a chance to prove themselves one way or another. It is almost expected that they will have similar scholastic and social abilities.

The funny thing is, I don't see it. Last year I taught two sisters concurrently, but I did not uncover their familial relationship until parent-teacher evening. I finished discussing the 8th grader and the mother asked about her daughter in 9th grade. Click! Maybe I'm just clueless, but I had not seen it coming. Their performance levels were nearly polar opposites. One loved my class, the other hated it. One turned in beautiful assignments, the other performed her work begrudgingly. Sisters! Who would've known?

This evening a couple walked up to my desk and sat down to talk. I was confused.
"I don't teach Sarit* this year." 
"Oh, no," the mother corrected me, "We're here about Goldie*"
My bad... "Oh how funny, I hadn't realized that they were sisters!"
"Then don't mention it!" 

Turns out my lapse worked in the girls' favor in this situation. Apparently the two don't have the best relationship and intensely dislike being compared to each other. Suppose you might say that I'm focused on each individual's talents. Now if only I could work out how to get Esther's mom to remain attentive and focused during the lesson...

Have you ever been compared to your siblings?


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