Slice of Life Challenge #15

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*inspired by Kevin’s post

This week is a long one….we are in the midst of our spring parent-teacher conferences.  We see almost all of our parents during this round, because our students are finishing our their tenure at our intermediate school.  Come September, my students will move from the top of the food chain to the bottom, as new 7th graders at our township middle school.  Because our students will be mixed in with 2 other intermediate schools from our town, many of their parents come to us with concerns about their placement and social skills.

Each evening, before the first conference, our team comes together to discuss each child we will be meeting with that night.  As we switch classes, parents only meet with their child’s homeroom teacher.  Meeting as a team allows us to discuss each child’s progress and any concerns we might have.  The parents appreciate receiving a well-rounded look at their child, even if they can’t meet with each individual teacher.

This year, most of our students are doing very well.  The parents are happy, the students are happy, and the teachers are even happier.  Thus, our conferences have focused on the transition to middle school.  It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of these conversations, as parents admit their fears and concerns.  Usually, the fears and concerns are not related to their child, but instead focus on the parent. This is a big step- their child will be leaving the comfort of the elementary and intermediate schools.  With that transition come a lot of trappings and traps of being a teenager.  Suddenly, all the rumors and exaggerated stories passed down over the years come flooding back to the parents.  Will their child be bullied?  Will they have enough friends?  Will the parents be able to handle this big step in their child’s life?

We have tears.  Many, many times we have tears.  But they are tears that fall over proud smiles.  Their baby is growing up….middle school leads to high school.  High school leads to college.  It all seems to happen in a blink of an eye.  And our conferences our the leaping point for many of these parents.  We are lucky to be a part of such an special part of their lives.

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6 Responses

  1. As I said on Kevin’s post, I love this idea of teaching teams coming to together to talk about the kids and present a united front to and for parents!

  2. Glad I sparked your writing. ;)

    Those moments of transition — and the anxiety and hope they create — are also part of our conferences.

    Kevin

  3. I love that Kevin inspired your post. What a great network we’ve built here with the SOLSC!

  4. I agree. I have been loving this new community. It would be great to find ways to continue.
    As I read your slice, I remember where I was in the chain. Our school was an 8-12 building for no educational reason, just the way it worked out as the district closed and reopened buildings as the population decreased and then increased again.
    I taught the 8thgraders, new to the building, the babies. And here came the parents trying to hold on and quickly realizing that the world of high school was not child centered anymore. 8th grade was their last stand. Sad, I think, in some ways.
    Bonnie

  5. Interesting that you focused on your parents in this post about conferences. Loved it. I think this is a sign of good work by educators- that you understand it is important to meet the needs of your whole family! Great partnering.

  6. I, too, mentioned on Kevin’s page that I love this idea of teachers meeting to discuss students before the parent conferences. This is such an important piece of the process! I give my kids up one night a week for math class, and I haven’t been able to get any kind of conversation going with the woman who teaching math. I’m not sure why she’s so reluctant to talk about the students, but it’s driving me a little crazy!

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