Day 37 (of 187) parent-teachers as a parent not the teacher
First we were surprised at how full the parking lot was at the secondary school. Our previous experience was “front row” parking whenever we went. So I gotta admit to being impressed with how many families came (we left our kids at home, but many came as a family!)
But we also had two different experiences:
When talking about our (categorized) son, the emphasis was on how he was adjusting to school and how the schools focus was on helping him reconnect to a full school day and then push the academic emphasis. As my “rant on anxiety” emphasizes, having kids in school is essential. Then in the class. Then doing work. It is a process that can push ones patience. It’s great hearing those words coming from more and more educators. And what we heard: who he was as a person. His humour. His hiding. His undefeated streak in chess. <— some were surprising, many were not. But the focus was on who they were seeing as a learner and some prethinking of what may further his connection and trust of the school so we can next do some risk taking and push him in his academic development.
Then we met the teachers of our daughter: how she was doing as far as completion and timeliness of tasks being completed. It was interesting hearing an emphasis on %s and “on time”. I recalled a colleague remind me: take the compliment about your kid – because the mindshift away from task completion isn’t easy – and not meant for parent-teacher meetings that are brief with the pressure of a line up still behind you. I was able to push my agenda to ensure she was being a good citizen and making a sincere effort to show what she knows….and then surprise the teacher by reminding them that she (and all of us) are still new to the community (we wanted to make sure she was adjusting well and were reassured that they had forgotten we were new in town – our feelings as well!).
Also awkward when the connection was made that she was the daughter of the “new principal” in town with “that video”. I like that my kids are feeling connected to their school not because they’re my kid, but because they are kids in that school – and adaptions for them are the same as for any one.
For me, the first parent teachers are to confirm:
– startup is going well
– any surprises or “interesting” observations
– connection to an adult
– academic “first feelings” / baseline assessments
– shares of things that may not be obvious (new to town, relative passing, anxieties, allergies, etc)
Then let the schools go to work and (ideally) keep the lines of communication open via eportfolio (and I’ll let one “vent” out) that shows artifacts of student work, not just a list of tasks with numbers/letters next to them….and if something does pop up, don’t keep it a secret! Start the home-school-communication-connection on its way!