Parents – Let’s Talk

Today something amazing happened.

I had a parent come to my classroom and ask how her daughter was doing in class.

We talked quite frankly about the challenges she has faced, the success that she has had this year, and the things that she can improve on.

We didn’t dwell on the report card, comments, or the marks. Instead, we talked about what we both can do to help her child. We talked about the social and academic issues that were specific to her daughter. It was a great interview and I think it helped us both to see her strengths, weaknesses, and things we can both do to help her have a more successful second term.

This was the first parent-interview I ever had that didn’t focus on the report card. It was amazingly freeing not to have to just discuss this one document. I think school is about much more than the marks and the report card.

In fact, I think giving marks sometimes misses the point entirely.

I had to give low marks to some of my students simply because their work fell below the provincial standard. These students really do deserve better marks and report cards than they got today.

I expect a lot as a teacher. I push every one of my students to achieve his or her personal best. I wish I could measure their progress against this standard instead. That is something that is definable and measurable.

That is why I was glad to talk to this parent first today. I followed the template of our discussion for each of the interviews after her and it really was amazing. The parents were eager to work with me to help their child succeed. We talked about the specific things that we can do to help them out.

I’m going to have to remember this for each parent-interview day in the future.

I didn’t meet with every parent today. But I am going to make it known that I am available if any of them would like to come in and see me next week, or any time they have a concern. After all we are in this together and it takes all three of us; parent, teacher, and student to make this work.