At the start of the pandemic, I taught third grade at a public charter school in San Jose. I met with thirty parents three times a year for conferences. One round of conferences consumed fifteen hours! Many happened back to back.
I developed a formula. First, share what we’ve been working on as a class, then rattle off some numbers such as reading level, percentage of independent work complete, and percentage of homework completed. When parents communicated concern about how much progress their child was making, I’d tell them to direct their child to spend more time on the school-provided online learning programs.
When parents asked me about something that our school’s curriculum didn’t focus on like handwriting or spelling, I’d give them suggestions. I didn’t have time to provide resources or actionable steps. I responded to parent concerns in a one size fits all way.
Now, I work directly with parents rather than children. I listen deeply to what parents say. I provide meaty, thoughtful responses to their concerns. Partnerships between teachers and parents benefit children. Nurturing these partnerships requires strong communication and empathy.
Click here to share your most memorable parent-teacher conference experience with our community! It could be terrible or incredible. You can share your experience as a parent, teacher or student.
Teachers are doing incredible work with children. However, through my lens, I see a need for better partnerships and stronger communication between teachers and parents.
Learn more about my four-week program Reading and Writing Partners here!
Talk to you soon,
Mohini S. Pollock