By Bernita Bradley
Conference Time: To Boldly Go Where Most Parents Have Gone Before.
I thought I’d start this post with a little humor. Parent-teacher conferences can be so stressful, can’t they?
I am learning to master the process for scheduling parent-teacher conferences at my child’s school. A link is sent, you click on it and select your child’s teachers. Then an email is sent with available times. Select the times that work and an email with a confirmation seals the deal. It’s really easy.
The goal is to allow as many parents as possible to get feedback on their child’s growth in a short time. But how meaningful are those conversations?
“Good afternoon Ms. Bradley, I am Victoria’s writing teacher, she is such a pleasure…. Currently she has an A- in my class. She is missing one assignment and can turn this in by next… if she wants to bring her grade it up. We are currently working on…. If you have additional questions, please feel free to email me at anytime.”
Oh, it goes just that smooooooth, for the most part. Efficient for the teachers but have you really learned what you need to know about your child?
Yes, that A- is very uplifting and will stop most parents from asking questions. So what if I want to know more, but the teacher and I only have five minutes?
I know what the conventional wisdom says. Ask the teacher to meet at a separate time. Look at the syllabus that was sent home at the beginning of the semester. Be satisfied with how schools now use technology to update parents when they have time. We get the weekly news letter and lesson plans but what if we still need to know more?
I was thrilled to run across this list of 20 questions suggested by Meghan Ross of Care.com. as it happens, these are the perfect questions for me to ask about my child. There are questions about my child’s personality, learning style, special needs—and even tricky situations.
I may not ask them all. But I’m going to use them as a way to get the most out of my parent-teacher conferences while respecting the teacher’s time and that of other parents. I have decided to email some of these questions to my daughter’s teachers prior to her conferences in order to assure they have some feedback when we meet.
All parents need to feel comfortable that their child is prepared for what comes next in their classroom. That A- may not mean they are. If we can identify challenges now, it makes a smoother year moving forward.
So, how about we take some of the pressure off by knowing exactly what we need to hear from the teachers and feeling confident we’ll get answers.
Relax, think about your child’s growth, what you already know and what else you need to know. Select a few major questions, email them to the teacher and be prepared for the answers.
Come with an open mind and be ready to listen. The teacher may give you tips on how to support your child, so take notes. I know, this seems like homework for you but it will pay off for us all.
On that note, I need to get to e-mailing! I wish you all the best and less stress as we Boldly Go Where Most Parents Have Gone Before. Tweet us @DSchoolsRock and let us know what you think.