Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Parent/Teacher Conferences (Slice 20 of 31)
This post is a part of the Slice of Life challenge which is hosted on the Two Writing Teachers blog. The month of March the challenge is to write a blog post a day.
Today we have the first of two nights of Spring conferences. As always on the day of conferences, I am nervous about it. It usually is fine, but being a perfectionist, it is hard to have people point out the things at which I might not be doing the greatest.
I do believe in family involvement in a child's education and I have a lot of ways that I intend to share with parents what is happening in the classroom. However, I have had a very difficult time keeping up this year with all the things that I have to do and the website and parent communications have fallen by the wayside. I know that this is not okay, but it comes down to sanity. Should I have to sacrifice both days on my weekend to get my work done? I think not. One day a weekend is enough to give up.
I usually end up enjoying conference night and having good talks with parents and students, so I shouldn't worry. But I get very worried that parents will not hear my message correctly or that they will come into the conferences upset that they are not being called when students are missing work. I know that this is what some parents feel, but I would be spending a lot of my time on the phone if I did this. (I teach middle school)
I really want to do student-led conferences one of these years because I think those have the potential to help both students and parents understand our standards-based grading better. Many parents still have a hard time understanding that the "grade" their child gets on the standards is based on their level of proficiency, not whether they turned things in on time, etc. To me, the most important grade on the report card for parents to be aware of is the effort grade in each subject. This is the grade that tells them if their child is doing the right things at school (i.e. participating in class, handing in work, doing homework).
Today I will also discuss the results of the state testing that the students did in November. This conversation is scary at 8th grade because the results of the test as well as their progress this year will help determine whether they are "promoted" to 9th grade. With the state using a new cut score this year, many more of my students are not doing so well. This could be a difficult conversation with some parents.
Okay, time to take a deep breath and relax. I can't anticipate what might come up, and worrying about it will just make me more nervous. I'm off to prepare for a LONG day of teaching and then conversing.
Have a great day!