parent conferences, middle school

Discussion in 'General Education' started by HufflePuff, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. HufflePuff

    HufflePuff Cohort

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    Apr 16, 2009

    eek! this will be the first time the parents will be meeting me since i am doing a second half of the year maternity leave. i did conferences in the elementary school and they went great, mostly because i wrote note cards on each child. well, i can't really do that in middle school because i have over 80 kids!

    how can i prepare for these conferences? they aren't scheduled...parents just come in between certain times and either wait or come right to me and talk. they are technically supposed to be 15 minutes.

    i am also very scared that parents are going to complain that i give too much work. one parent called and complained already (i've heard she's nuts, though). i just hope that's not how they all are!

    i feel like i should prepare, but then i also feel like there isn't much i can do TO prepare.

    thoughts?
     
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  3. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Apr 16, 2009

    Have all of your records on hand and easily accessible, so that as parents come in, you can pull the information on your child. Be prepared to explain your curriculum standards and how you choose to implement curricula in your classroom. Be prepared to just introduce yourself. Conferences of that nature... you tend to see parents you don't really need to see (the "good" kids) and not those from the kids whose parents you do need to see.

    Most importantly, be positive. If a kid is having trouble, explain to parents that this is a chance to make a plan! Be proactive, have some ideas ready for plans to help kids succeed.
     
  4. capfortune

    capfortune Rookie

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    Apr 17, 2009

    I run off a sheet for each child covering all areas of the curriculum and I use these when talking about each child. I also list the child's strengths and weaknesses. At the very end of the conference I always ask the parents to voice any concerns that they have. You will always have some parents who think you're the greatest teacher in the world and you will have parents with the opposite opinion.
     
  5. nothermanda

    nothermanda Companion

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    Apr 17, 2009

    If the student comes, ask him/her to lead the conferences. Students explain the class, (sorry, switching to plural because I hate the his/her awkwardness), what they're learning, their grades, and what they can do to improve or extend their learning. If possible, they show a portfolio with good and bad examples of work.

    This way, the kids have to take responsibility for what they do or don't do. It's not a case of "the teacher gave the student this grade," but "the student earned ___ because ___."

    If the family speaks another language at home, the student can conduct the conference in that language, translating for you whenever necessary. Oh, and the student is responsible for finishing the conference within a certain time period, so it's not dragged out.

    Some schools, ours included, make this standard practice, but I pulled it off at my first school by making the conference extra credit. If you have time, practice or give an example in class, and have the agenda written out for the students and parents to look at during the conference. I usually write out a card that says things like "my grade is a ___ because ___, and here are my homework examples."

    This takes a lot of pressure off you, and is usually more productive than a traditional "parents and teachers yell at each other about the kids grades."

    Because it's your first time meeting the parents, you might make a business card or something to give out, if you haven't already. Good luck!
     

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