Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Today is Parent-Teacher Conference Day. Well it actually is parent-teacher conference weeks as the teachers space out the meetings over the course of a couple of weeks and the school scheduling three to four half days to compensate. In the past the conferences would all take place in the afternoons, basically forcing the working parents to take off time from work to meet the teachers and find out about how wonderful their child is. This year they instituted a few mornings into the mix, giving both parents a chance to participate and for the school to pat itself on the back with the leap right into the 20th century (yes I mean 20th!). Today at 7:50am was our conference, the very first one on the docket.

There is another change in the parent-teacher conference dynamic starting in the fifth grade, the child gets to sit in on the meeting. No more kids sitting outside the classroom, stressing about what is being said on the other side of the door and how much trouble they are in. No, this is a new day where all three parties discuss the work, the problem areas and the goals set forth. 

We enter the classroom, greet the teacher and take our seats. My wife and I on one side and the Teacher and our son on the other, face to face like a worldly summit. My wife takes out a pad and a pen and I for some reason do the same, while my son has a conference worksheet with checks and notes written on it which he did earlier in the week to prepare for this important summit. The Teacher has a copy of the worksheet and some depositions from some of the other teachers. We are ready to commence with the summit.

The teacher breaks down the structure of the classroom, the coursework, and how all the kids are adjusting to fifth grade. The conference worksheet is a two page document where the kids note some of their self realized weaknesses, strengths and their goals to attain. The teacher and my son have an open discussion in front of us about the worksheet and come up with a detailed goals outline while my wife and I take down our own outline to work on at home. The summit goes very well and it sets all parties on a clear path for a successful school year. 

As the conference comes to a close, my son is smiling and relaxed. Though there is much work ahead, my son is excited and confident that he has the support of his teachers and his parents. 


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