Parent/teacher conferences began yesterday and will continue up to Thanksgiving break. This is my third time sitting through these as a student teacher. I got to participate a little, giving my input on the student's progress, during my first experience last fall. This time, I'm going to run some of these myself. My CT will be present, of course, but I'll be the sole person addressing the parent. Am I a teacher-geek for being excited about that? Absolutely.
So far, I've learned:
- schedule the Spanish/Russian/Hmong speaking parents back-to-back with the other Spanish/Russian/Hmong speaking parents so the translator doesn't have to hop back and forth, from day to day. They will have more energy to do a better job translating, AND they will like you more. It is important to have a good relationship with the support staff.
- schedule the "teacher intensive" (either on the parent's side, or on the student's side) early in the conference week. Some will be no-shows, which means I can call them and attempt to reschedule later in the week.
- conversely, schedule the model student/parent meetings later. It just makes it nice to end the conference week on a happy note.
- massively push to have most of the meetings in the early half of the week, because it is A WHOLE WEEK AND THEN SOME of conferences. It is a long slog. I will get tired.
- leave the last conference week day open. That allows room for reschedules - and if those aren't necessary, then I'll get to leave school at 12:15 PM! w00t!
- coordinate with the teachers of brothers and sisters of my own students. The parent will be happier about hitting all the meetings on one day, rather than returning multiple times for anxious meetings.