The following post is from Jennifer, a lifelong educator:
Many schools make spring conferences optional for parents, but I believe they are just as important as the ones you schedule in the fall.
As a teacher, I view the fall conference as the one in which I am trying to glean background information from you, the parent, about my student. That helps me meet your child’s needs more fully.
By the time the spring conferences roll around, teachers have spent numerous hours with a class and have many insights to share with you about your child’s school year. Because children act differently in distinct settings (don’t we all?), the teacher has a unique perspective. A conversation with them will deepen your understanding of your son or daughter.
Make the Most of Your Time
Make sure you arrive at the conference (on time!) with a notebook and your list of questions.
Time is usually tight – most teachers schedule a conference every 15 or 20 minutes. If you have any concerns about your child, request that the teacher reserve two time slots for your meeting. The extra time allows for a fuller discussion. You’ll leave with a better picture of your child’s strengths and challenge areas.
Here are some suggested questions to stimulate the discussion:
- What areas have been my child’s strengths this year?
- What hurdles do they still need to get over before the end of the year?
- What is your perspective of my child’s confidence level in the classroom?
- Who are their closest friends? Do you see my child as a leader or follower in their peer group?
- Is the school planning on utilizing the same curriculum and resources next year? If not, how do you think the changes will impact my child?
- What organizational skills and study habits does my child need to improve in order to help them become a better student?
- Do you have suggestions for summer that would help my child have a stronger start next year?
- What books do you recommend for summer reading?
- If you meet my son or daughter in 20 or 30 years, what do you guess they will be doing for a living?
While the last question may seem a little “off the wall,” you’d be amazed at things a teacher sees in your kids. Seeing your child through someone else’s eyes may help you encourage a trait or skill that has only recently come to the surface. It will also give you something to write in their scrapbook:
“Your fifth grade teacher thinks you’ll be a great mother some day because you have such a caring heart.”
“Your seventh grade teacher expects to hear about your influence as an author. He has been quite impressed with your journalism skills this year!”
The end of the school year may be just around the corner, but there’s still lots to learn about how you can encourage your child and their education!
What about you? What do you like to talk about at conference time?
|Jennifer is passionate about children and education. She homeschooled her two sons for five years, established and directed a Christian school in Maryland for 20 years, and currently teaches in a public school in a Chicago suburb. She loves investing in relationships and delights in every moment that she spends with her family.|