The school year is in full swing, and as the time for conferences nears, both parents and teachers want to be prepared. Conferences give everyone an opportunity to check in and get up to speed on the trajectory of a child’s educational journey. Emotions can run the gamut from both parents and teachers when it comes to approaching conferences. There may be eager anticipation, coupled with frustration, interspersed with appreciation, and a bit of aggravation tossed into the mix for good measure. The most important thing to keep in mind upon entering a conference is the number one reason everyone is in attendance, the child.
Regardless of how a student is performing, the parent and teacher team is coming together to ensure that the remainder of the school year is met with success. That may look different for every student, but the tone and the mindset within every conference should be the same. By bringing the following three must-haves to this important meeting, both parents and teachers are putting themselves one step closer to making the most beneficial use of their time together.
Compassion- Parents are more than just parents; teachers are more than just teachers. Keep in mind that school is one component of a much bigger picture. There can be some pretty extreme movements on this slide rule we call life, but everyone showed up today to make sure that the educational experiences this child has are the best they can be. While teaching a class of thirty diverse, pre-pubescent students may be foreign to a parent, understanding the day-to-day struggles of a single parent, a non-native speaker, a mother of six, etc. can be just as unfamiliar. By taking the whole person into consideration and being a compassionate listener and contributor, a mutual respect is fostered.
Solutions- Both teachers and parents often enter conferences looking for answers as to why work isn’t being completed, concepts aren’t being understood, communication isn’t occurring, etc. These are all valid queries that require discussion, but the direction that discussion takes depends largely on the role each person plays. Part of preparing for conferences is coming with questions, but more importantly parents and teachers need to come with possible solutions as well. These solutions become a springboard within the discussion and help everyone contribute to developing the best plan of action for ensuring student success.
Team Spirit- Parents and teachers are all members of Team Student, and everyone on the team is looking for a win when it comes to educational successes. Nothing can derail putting a checkmark in the win column like a negative attitude. When everyone works together, and students are able to see a united front of support, it can make a world of difference in attitudes and performance. When we focus on the negative, we can lose sight of the most important element of all, the success of the student. By working together to create a positive action plan for future and/or continued success, teachers and parents are building a strong foundation from which students can achieve.
When it comes to this year’s conference preparations, be sure to include these three essential elements. By entering conferences with compassionate, solution-oriented, team-spirited mindsets, teachers and parents allow students to enter learning environments that are filled with positivity, collaboration, and success. Keeping the best interests of the students in mind should be the number one priority for everyone at conferences and throughout the school year.
If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.