Year after year, I have tried to find a way to make my conferences more productive. I had attempted to find a way to share information with my parents so they had a clear understanding of where their child is. I had always felt frustrated, when after a parent had gone , and I would think, “Oh, I forgot to tell her/him….” READ MORE
Parent Teacher conferences. Twice a year,(or more), we sit down with our students’ parents and relay the good or bad news about their child. A parent teacher conference can go two ways, productive or non-productive. I recall many conferences, and many types of parents. The wonderful, supportive, parent, the hostile parent, the parent that won’t leave no matter how many times you stand up, the ones who just nod, the appreciative parents, the ones who share every aspect of their lives, while the letters, “TMI” run through your brain,and my favorite, the parents who share how much they and their child love you.
Year after year, I have tried to find a way to make my conferences productive. I have attempted to find a way to share information, no matter the parent type. I have always felt frustration, when after a parent leaves, and I think, “Oh, I forgot to tell her/him….” Last year, I created a form based on some of the questions from a worksheet that my Phi Delta Kappa soror shared with me. Parent teacher conference form revised The first question is ” What are your concerns or comments?” This allows my parents to feel, as they should,that I care about what they think. As we complete the form, using the questions to guide the conference and open discussion between myself and the parent. I feel that the form answers questions parents have, but forget, or don’t ask. After the form is completed, the parent signs it, thereby giving me a document supporting that I have kept the parent informed. When I used the form, the conference moved along smoothly. I keep the original, and send a signed copy home to the parent the next day. I also send filled out forms home to parents who don’t attend,and have them sign it. This marking period, I am going to review the first form with the parent, and see how it compares to the current marking period. As a parent, I know conferences aren’t always easy, especially if the child is not doing well. Hopefully, my form makes it easier to focus on the purpose of the conference, bringing together the parent and the teacher in a productive atmosphere.
I don’t believe in using corporal punishment in the classroom, but boy oh boy, this week certainly had me thinking about it! These kids say whatever comes to their mind, whenever it comes to their mind. During a recent parent-teacher conference, I told the parent that her daughter was always respectful. She replied, “She better be, and if she isn’t you can take her in that bathroom!” I had to laugh, and let her know those days were over. I need my job! My girlfriend teaches middle school and she was called an a##hole and a dumb b***h by one of her students. Makes you wonder if he knew he would be popped with a ruler, or taken to the office and paddled, if he would have thought twice before using those words at a teacher. I didn’t have it that badly, but the disrespect makes you see red. One of my students was asked by the intern to sit down, he refused. She told me what happened when I picked them up. As she walked past him, he made hand gestures at her and muttered something nasty. He was called into the principal’s office, but what would he receive, a talking to, that’s what. Will it happen again? Of course. I know if he was paddled, that doesn’t mean that he would not do it again. I know there are too many sick people who would take advantage and abuse our children. I know that it doesn’t necessarily stop a child from misbehaving. I was not a victim of corporal punishment and I have never administered it. But this week had me thinking back to the old days!
This week is conference week. So far, so good. I made life a little easier for myself by creating a form that answers questions parents should ask at conferences. I really enjoyed using it because it covered questions , I, nor my parents, remember to ask when we meet. Usually, after the parent leaves, the missed thoughts pop into my head. Of course, I’m seeing the parents whose children are doing well. I’m glad they still come out, which in turn, is probably why their children do well. I sent notices home, put reminders on the web page, and followed up with phone calls. I had two parents just not show up, no phone call, email, nothing. But, one did come, and explained to me how her son comes home, and gets right to work on his homework. He even wants to give up football practice in order to complete his homework. As I sat across the table from this mom, I couldn’t help but smile at her pride in her son and the work he has done. Teaching is hard, especially when we get so caught up in what’s wrong, we forget to revel in what’s right!