Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Conference Day

Parents who are also teachers can be the worst sort of parents when it comes to teacher conferences. We set high expectations, and we know a lot about know the system works. On the other hand, we also know what it is like to be a teacher in a parent-teacher conference. So it balances itself out.

Today I will have three conferences at my daughter's school. My husband is coming to two out of three, but then he has to get back to his school to do conferences. You only get to pick three in middle school, even though your child has substantially more than three classes. You must pick wisely.

What do you hope to achieve through parent teacher conferences? Do you find them to be generally helpful? What are the top issues for you this year? In the past, I have found myself at odds with high stakes standardized testing, too much passive learning, skill and drill programs, lack of recess.

But this is Middle School. Even though kids still need active learning and more than a few minutes of recess, in my opinion, it isn't really a part of the deal anymore. It is all about the academic subject. I wish I could make an appointment with a "whole child specialist" to talk about social-emotional development, organizational skills, and all the other intangibles that you can't post on the Student Portal.

We glean what we can from the slices of our children that the subject teachers see, and we go home and talk about it and try to fit it all together. Sometimes it all adds up, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes we end up with extra pieces.

What about you? What is the most valuable thing you have learned in a parent teacher conference? Is there anything that you wish could be different?


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