Thanks for Being Honest

Report card day was on Friday. Parents were supposed to drop in to the school at any time during the day to pick up their child’s report card and have a parent teacher interview.

I put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that I was prepared. I had a table, just as you came into my room, that had the curriculum documents on it. I had my Day Book Binder on the table as well. I prepared a table card that read “Parents, please have a look.”

I drew a triangle on the board that looked like this.

I put all of the student report cards in personalized envelopes and kept a copy on my desk as well.

I had done my job. I taught the students the best way I knew how this term. I gave them honest marks and personalized comments. I knew that some of my marks might be perceived as being too low and that I might catch a bit of flack from some parents. I was expecting as much from at least a few of them.

The first interview I had was with one of the parents who I knew didn’t always agree with me or my methods this year. We already had a few run in this year and they were not pleasant at all. I was really expecting a battle with her over the report cards. But it didn’t come.

We sat down and honestly discussed where her kids are at academically and socially. I found some common ground with this parent and referred to the triangle diagram. I told her that I feel that we are really on the same page here. We both want what is best for her kids. But we need to work together as parent (P) and teacher (T) to push the student (S) up as far as we can.

To my bewildered surprise the parent agreed with me on everything I had to say about her kids. She even thanked me for giving them honest marks. I was blown away by this.

As a teacher, I often don’t feel appreciated. I work hard for the best interest of the students and the class. This parent probably doesn’t even know how much that thank you made my day. A little compliment goes a long way.

I hope this gives us a fresh start now. I always felt like this parent was out for blood. It’s good to see that we will be able to work together so that her kids will be successful this year. It gives me a lot of hope for next term and the rest of the year.

4 responses to “Thanks for Being Honest”

  1. I’m glad you had a positive experience. It’s easy for parents to become defensive when a teacher says anything they perceive as negative about their child. But the teacher is usually far less biased than the parents are and it’s important to listen to his feedback. Like you say, the ultimate goal is to work together to help the child.

  2. Hi Vered,

    I was hoping to see all the parents but only a third of them came in. I left messages with the others and I hope they will come see me some time this week.

    I think a first-term parent teacher interview is very important. The feedback really helps everyone involved.

  3. Hi Chase – With how prepared you were, it shows how much you do care about your students. It can’t be easy telling a parent their child has learning difficulties or behavioral problems, but it sounds like you handle it very diplomatically.

    You are a great teacher and the gratitude the parent showed was well deserved. Kudos to you, Chase.

  4. Hi Barbara,

    The crazy thing is that I have left messages and sent home notes and I get no response. Some parents are involved and want to know what is going on with their kids at school. Others just don’t care. It’s sad.