Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Secret Sauce

I went to four parent teacher conferences at my daughter's school last night. Wednesday morning I have three more. Why? Because I can. Because I want to touch base with them and see if there is anything they want me to know about how my child is doing.

And I want to thank them.

Overall my daughter has been very positive about her classes this year. That matters a lot to me. We seem to have achieved the right balance of work expectation, interest in subject, supportive environment, support from the teacher. Anyone who has a student in high school these days knows that can be hugely difficult to achieve.

What I learned from my conferences last night is that my daughter's teachers have a good handle on who my daughter is but they're open to learning more. They love the subject they teach and they want to pass that love along. They have insight into how my daughter can grow. They can give me examples on how she interacts with peers in a classroom setting.

Wow, they are good.

They had a computer printout of her grades for me if that's what I wanted to talk about, but they didn't make it the only thing up for discussion. Thank goodness. I wanted to talk about how to support my kid becoming an independent learner, to challenge herself, and to be a better advocate for herself, because that's what she will need to have within her once she graduates from high school and leaves home.

It's possible that I was the only parent they saw that didn't care two hoots about grades and GPA. If I was, they didn't let that phase them. I really, really appreciate that.

Friends, take a moment in your conferences (if you have them) to thank your child's teachers. They are the driving force, the relationship-builders, the secret sauce of the educational experience. It's not fancy and expensive surveys, tests, iPad programs, or Central Office initiatives.

It's the teachers.

When you sit down to dinner on Thursday, make sure you give thanks for them. But don't forget to tell them in person.

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