Last month I ran into a former colleague. He would still be considered to be in the early years of his career.
“So, how did last week’s Parent-Teacher interviews go?”, I asked.
“Oh, okay, but like it usually is, I didn’t see any of the parents I needed to see.”
I had a sudden flashback to my first year teaching. I was in the staffroom following an evening of interviews and one of the school’s more seasoned (close-to-retirement) teachers came in and said, “Well there you go. I only had X parents come in and NOT ONE of them is a parent I needed to talk to.”
The question I wanted to ask back then was the same question I wanted to ask last month, “So, will you be calling the parents you need to talk to?”
My personal belief is, Education is the responsibility of the home, and schools are here to help. I am proud to say that I have always made it a point of reaching out to parents when it was necessary, I didn’t wait for them to call me. In many instances, by the time Parent-Teacher interviews came around it could well have been too late for efficient intervention.
All teachers can share with you their experience of having the parents of their very best students attend these conferences. I can certainly attest to that.
Here is a conversation that often took place over the years:
“Good Evening, Mr. Caines. I am Pat’s mother. I know I don’t need to be here and I don’t want to take much of your time. I just wanted to drop by and say hello.”
“Hi. I am curious, why do you feel you don’t need to be here?”
“Well, Pat’s marks are really good and I know that s/he isn’t a problem in class. There’s really no matter we need to discuss.”
“I am willing to bet that a large part of Pat’s success in school has been due to the role you have played. By coming here you send the message to me and, more importantly, to Pat that you are interested and supportive. I think it makes perfect sense that you are here. There’s no need to apologize.”
Wouldn’t we all agree that this world would be a better place if we reached out when things were right, not just when they were wrong?
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