Saturday, November 13, 2010

Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent teacher conferences require a lot of preparation and energy. For many teachers they are also extremely scary and nerve-wracking. I think I'm in the minority of a lot of teachers when I say that, while they do require a lot of prep time, conferences do not bother me. I look forward to the opportunity to sit down with parents and see if what I'm seeing from their child in school matches the kid they know at home.

This year I have 22 students, and one of my teaching friends asked me, "So, which conferences are you dreading?" I honestly said none because there truly were no children whose parents I was not looking forward to meeting. All of my kids who are below level have made some growth, and I have some pretty amazing kids who are surviving and doing pretty impressive school work despite some pretty awful situations. In the end I had 21 excellent conferences (one will happen Monday because of a vacation), and here are some of the highlights:

- 8 parents asking me what I did to their child because he / she NEVER wanted to read and now he / she is reading ALL the time! (This was the best, best, best comment of them all, and every time I heard it I practically squealed!)

- several parents saying, "Oh my yes, that is my kid!" when I described my picture of their child and how he or she learns and works best

- One set of parents asking me who I was talking about because they have never had a positive conference about their child before. Seriously?? I had heard the rumors, but their child earned every word of praise I shared with them.

- 7 moms crying (all good tears)

- 4 sets of parents telling me that their kids come home every day to show them our websites so they can see what we've been doing

- several parents telling me that their child can't wait to come to school and says it is fun

- being able to show so many parents a ton of growth, even if their children haven't quite met the benchmarks yet

- all parents being really excited to hear that the kids will start blogging this week

Since we don't have formal conferences again during the school year, I can add my 13th round of conferences to the old teaching belt. They never get easier, but this year's seemed to be a lot more rewarding. Hopefully that trend will continue.

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