How I failed conferences…


As I look back and reflect on parent-teacher conferences, I feel as if I failed the attempt. Or as my students say, it was an epic fail. In an attempt to promote understanding and open communication, I dominated the conversation and didn’t allow enough time for parents to ask questions.

This was my first year as a parent attending a parent teacher conference. I felt it opened my eyes to how it feels to sit on the other side of the table. It is so hard! I had a million questions. I wanted to know what is going on in the classroom…even if it is only a 4K program. All I really wanted to know is if my son is okay with himself and okay with others. There has to be a trust between parents and teachers. Every day, I am trusting his teacher with his education. Every day, parents trust me. We have to work together to help children feel positive self-worth and okay with themselves. One morning this past week, I told my son to “be a good boy” then I said…forget about that…”just be yourself.” To a four year old, he heard, “just be by yourself.” He didn’t like that. He wants to hang out with his parents every day. As his parent at conferences, I needed to hear from his teacher whether or not he is interacting with others in a positive way.

After his conference, I felt I was shown a new perspective. I wanted to open my classroom to my parents. I talked and talked about technology. I talked about the website. I talked about twitter. I talked about social networking. I talked about internet safety. I talked about skype and ipods. I talked about blogging. I talked and talked and talked. I didn’t take time to listen. I am sorry to my parents for not being a better listener. Each year teachers become more aware of how to be positive influences for students. Next year, I will listen.

Does anyone give parents a prompt to think about before conferences? Does anyone have any suggestions for listening at conferences…a sort of parent led conference?

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