The season of fall brings cooler weather, elections, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and… parent/teacher conferences. The school year is well underway and most students have finally found their groove and are becoming familiar with their new grade level, and enjoying new friends. Reports cards are almost done and I find myself awaiting the opportunity to talk with the families of students from my classroom. I am fortunate that typically I have all of the parents from my classroom attend conferences. I realize this is not the case in all schools and I have been on the other side as well, where I was happy to have contact with any parents at all. Busy schedules, working families, and language barriers were all factors in my low attendance at parent teacher conferences in the past. Even if I only met with one or two families at the inner city school in which I taught, it was worth it, and I know those families appreciated hearing from me.
Over the years, I have gotten creative and made every possible effort to communicate with my families using a systematic and persistent approach; phone calls, emails, letters, home visits, scheduled conferences, and even attending birthday parties for students in my class. I value the opportunity to be able share and celebrate each child with his or her family and I appreciate how important it is for the parent to have a conversation with their child's teacher. I am a parent and it means the world to me when my sons’ teachers are able to express their knowledge about my children. It makes me feel like they really care and make every effort to get to know their students individually. Something I love: seeing the pride in the parents’ eyes when, maybe for the first time they feel like someone else cares about their child and also shares a common educational goal for their son or daughter. Parent/teacher conferences are next week and I am genuinely excited!