05 April 2012

Connecting with kids' families

Back in October 2011, I wrote a post about our first round of Parent-Teacher conferences for this school year. This afternoon we finished off the second round. Of my 20 students, 17 had someone attend the conferences. Sometimes the mother came, sometimes, the father came, sometimes both parents came, and sometimes an aunt or uncle came. Once again, it was a pleasure to be able to meet these people, and to hear about their dreams for their children, as well as the things that challenge them.

I think one of the reasons we get such a good response is that the parents truly care about what their child is learning, and I think the other reason is because we simply allocate appointment times over two days (from 2.30pm to 5.15pm) and tell the parents when their appointment is. The alternative is for parents to sign up through a central booking point, and that can be a nightmare for those who have to handle that process, especially if someone cannot get the time that they wanted. Occasionally we have parents turn up late or at the wrong time, but generally it works really well.

This time the children had written about their goals for the remaining months of 4th grade, things they had learned that they were excited about, and things that they were proud of. It is so great to share the children's thoughts with their parents.

It is also a good thing to be able to talk with the parents about the strengths I see in the children, and some things that I would like us to work on together, so the children can learn even better. It was also an opportunity to raise the usual "homework" issues! Yep, there's got to be one or two in the class that struggle to do their homework appropriately. It was so good get some parental support on this.

Once I used to fear Parent-Teacher conferences. Now I really enjoy them. Now it's time I headed off to finish off the report on the conferences for the principal! Oh, and no, we had no floods this time, just a power outage for last hour or so.

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