In the past few days I have seen many tweets and blog posts about parents and parent teacher conferences. So here is my thinking. Parents as partners, not just a platitude. If we look for the best for our students, we need to build a respectful relationship with our parents. The connections we make will serve us well. Adversaries just don’t cut it in education when we need all on board to build student confidence, resilience and learning. It is just November and in my school Friday was the 42nd day of the school year. Who do we think knows their child best? ( With the caveat, maybe not at school.) Our conference format reflects our thinking. The focus at this time of the year is the students’ social emotional development and work habits. This gives us much information of the students as learners, how they approach friendships, new tasks, change and motivation (among others), which impacts their learning. This is the time for a conversation with the parents! We listen to what they say about their child. Listen to the joy, excitement and love they have for their child. Listen to their questions and concerns. Don’t “Step On Their Words,” giving them time. We are here to reassure them, openly and honestly. We share their child’s strengths, what their school life looks like at this time and the goals we have for them. I have been doing this for many years and continue to refine and define my roll in this conversation. I remember and continue to build on my own experiences as a parent. What discussions made me feel confident as a parent and what was said that made me shudder. All that said, there will be conferences that you know went well and those that were less than stellar. When that happens we need to move on and remember that our main responsibility is to our students.
Here is a link from Edutopia about parent teacher conferences.
If you would like, please leave a comment sharing tips on parent teacher conferences or reflections about past experiences.