Parent-teacher-student conferences are usually fruitful, especially because the students lead these themselves. They talk about their strengths and their challenges in each of their classes. They respond to the grades they have received and the narratives each teacher has written about them. They talk about their school life, their experiences as learners, and the drama of peer interactions. They share the goals they have chosen to work on this year.
Usually the parents take a back seat and listen intently, perhaps asking questions here and there for clarification or to suggest possible strategies to address issues that they see. My role is to ask questions and to help lead the student (and parents) toward strategies to make the school experience for the student as beneficial and as constructive as possible.
I had fourteen conferences today, about 35 minutes each, back to back with a 45 minute break around 1:00. There were tears, celebration, anger, practical planning, accolades, cultural negotiating, parents and students negotiating, trepidation, silence, pride, tension, even a little wisdom. There was some complaining, praising, advising, committing, advocating, some brainstorming, and some promising.
As a result of these meetings some students have a few specific tasks to work on as do some of their parents.
I too have a variety of tasks, check-ins, and follow-ups connected to today’s conferences. But first, yes first, a well-deserved adult beverage before sleep.