Teaching

Parent Teacher Conferences Part 1

As a high school teacher I never had parent teacher conferences.  I was never remotely jealous of my elementary school teacher friends that did have them.  Yes of course I communicated with parents (about both the positive and negative with their child) but I never had the multi-hour sit down.  Well, that’s all about to change for me.  I have parent-teacher conferences in 2 weeks and have to get my butt in gear for them.

For one thing, that means finally being 1,000% on my students’ names.  Yes I only have 10 in each class, but I have this particular pair of brothers who are as physically similar as identical twins without actually being genetically identical twins (plus the kids wear uniforms so their clothes are identical too!).  I actually think I finally figured it out this last week how I can stop second guessing myself when I call on them by name–the one who’s name starts with “I” has eyes that are just a smidge more lidded than his brother’s, so I kept telling myself “I’s eyes” and I think now I can tell them apart.

I need to find a generic information form that I can fill out for each kid so that I’m prepared for each parent and not trying to remember every detail.  That’s on my to-do list for Monday/Tuesday.  I want to seem more prepared for these and more confident about them than I might actually be.

In the few days its been since I started drafting this post, I think I’ve realized that these parent-teacher conferences will actually be more for my benefit than the parents’ benefit.  I email the parents a detailed syllabus every few weeks, their kids bring work home, and I see a few of them at the co-op so they know what’s going on.  So for me, I’ll finally be able to find out what the parents are focusing on at home in terms of the week’s topic, the sorts of activities they have the kids do, what they would like to focus more or less on, how they feel things are going at the co-op, etc.

I’ll be interested to hear the parents’ perspective on what motivates their kids, what the kid feels his or her strengths and weaknesses are and how that all lines up with what I’ve been observing in class.  I don’t know if a parent could ask a question I don’t have an answer to, but that’s my biggest fear going into this.  I won’t say I’m excited about this, but there’s a first time for everything and thankfully I only have to do this for 15 kids (some take both classes) and not 180!!!

Come back in a few weeks to hear how the parent-teacher conferences went!

2 replies »

  1. I sympathize with you about the difficulty of getting names straight when you have siblings who look very similar and/or twins in the same class! It is really hard. I’ve had this situation come up repeatedly. One tool that helps me learn names is to sometimes call on students randomly by picking popsicle sticks with names from a cup. That way, I say the name and then the person with the name responds, and I get extra opportunities to practice matching names with faces without making a fool of myself. (This also keeps everyone on their toes because they could be called on at any time.)

    Like

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