This week we hosted parents and students for parent-student-teacher conferences. It was awesome when children chose to present their portfolios to parents and highlight their best work, questions, and ideas/goals for better learning and teaching. It was also a good chance to sit back and see a child's program in a holistic way. Even when children were not present, the conversations between parent and teachers were valuable leading us to program evaluation and betterment.
As I listened carefully to parents and their children, I thought about the need to keep in regular contact with all families with regard to a child's program. I also realized that there are so many ways to coach and work with each child, and how parents and children themselves provide the invaluable insights with which to teach a child. In addition, it's clear that there are limitless avenues to travel when it comes to nurturing children and school personnel have to make decisions in that regard because while we can do a lot, we can't do it all.
I'll take the information I learned this week and embed it into the teaching/learning ahead in the weeks to come. The conference periods are essential periods in the school year. I believe our conference periods are well timed in the early fall and late winter. I also feel that portfolios are a good source of information and talking points for the conferences, and the many data points and examples of student work included help to tell the story of a child's year. Focusing on the positives is essential while it's also important to highlight goals and needs too. Finally, as teachers map the year, it's essential to build in conference preparation time and scheduling that provides ample time and energy for the value and benefit the conferences bring to the overall program.