Parent/Teacher conference advice?- parent with "high achieving" kid

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Lei286, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Lei286

    Lei286 Rookie

    Mar 1, 2017
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    Dec 2, 2018

    Hi all,

    Question: I have parent conferences coming up and I KNOW that one of my parents coming is definitely going to ask me what they can do to further their child's achievement. They basically told me at the start of the school year that this kid was VERY advanced and high achieving and they had to have harder words for spelling and higher-level work to keep the stimulated...

    This student does well, but they are pretty average in my opinion. Nice kid, no academic issues...but not exactly gifted either. What can I suggest to the parents about further "achievement" for this student (more so for reading/writing) at the elementary age level?

    I just want to be proactive and prepared for this question...any advice? Ever faced this issue yourself?
  3. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

    Jun 27, 2014
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    Dec 2, 2018

    I have faced this before. I once had a student who routinely scored C’s on exams and so she was an average student. Well, her mother somehow got it into her head that she was Stanford bound. I’m not kidding you and upon close examination of her transcripts, I saw that she had D’s and F’s from her previous schools before she transferred to the school where I work. I was flabbergasted that the mother thought a student of minimal caliber would even be considered by Stanford admissions and seeing as she had one of the lowest SAT scores on record at my school (870). To put it into perspective, our 10th percentile is in the low 1200’s, but I digress.

    I kindly had to break it to the mother that her daughter had a 0% chance of getting accepted and that her scores put her in the top 100% of applicants. Now, that is not to say that the student wouldn’t get into some great schools without more work, but Stanford was simply out of the question. And the mother needed to be told this. Gently, of course.

    Concerning your unique situation, I think what you should do is bring examples of this student’s work and a printout of the student’s lackluster progress report to show why you don’t think more advanced material would be appropriate. Maybe put it this way: “I think the current curriculum is best suited for this student’s needs and would set them up for success going forward. As I want to ensure that your student is ultimately successful in this course I feel that more advanced material would not suffice for his/her situation.” Take the heat out of it, but be encouraging and supportive at the same time.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Aug 10, 2010
    Likes Received:

    Dec 2, 2018

    I teach high school so parents just sign their kids up for advanced courses if they want a challenge. I'll get the parent requesting harder work at Open House but once the class starts I get the opposite - parents wanting me to make things easier because their straight-A kids are getting their first Bs.

    What grade is this?

    I have no problem telling parents that in my professional opinion their children should not being taking XYZ next year. If I was given a request like you have been, I'd simply say that Johnny does not exhibit those qualities at school and that I did not feel it was in his best interests to assign more challenging work. If they would like to challenge him at home they were welcome to do so.

    Especially with vocabulary words. Parents can over any vocab they want. They don't need a teacher to help with that.
    futuremathsprof and Backroads like this.
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Apr 23, 2010
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    Dec 2, 2018

    I concur that with the resource access these days any parent can easily find anything to challenge a kid.

    My new district is very data-obsessed and precise on moving students through things. One of them is "don't bump them up an official reading level until they have HIJK skills."

    It makes me think, were I in a situation, I might find out what skills Junior needs to master before higher work is appropriate.
    Missy likes this.
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Aug 2, 2002
    Likes Received:

    Dec 3, 2018

    You could provide a list of recommended books that would challenge the student and encourage the parents to discuss them with their child when he/she is done.

    Ask them to provide a journal (paper or digital) for the student to can record daily thoughts. Talk to them about the positive impact this can have on writing skills and long-term impact on writing for college entrance.

    Encourage the parents to support something important to the child. If the child is math oriented, they could consider exposing the child to investments. If it is sports, doing a project that uses ratios, percentages, rankings, etc.

    These kinds of things place the responsibility back on the parents, where it belongs.

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