Parent-Teacher Conferences

There is no exhaustion like the end of parent-teacher conferences. It is both my favorite and least favorite weeks of the year.

The schedule is simply packed:

Monday

Monday is the only normal day of the week. We go to classes as normal. The day starts at 8:05 with homeroom and announcements and ends at 3:02 after 6th hour.

Tuesday

Here we go.

Tuesday, teachers and students have a normal school day: 8:05-3:02. However, after the teachers have a small pizza party in the teacher’s lounge, parent-teacher conferences begin. We have conferences from 5-8 pm that night.

Parents sign up for a specific 5 minute block and we attempt to stick to that schedule as much as possible. Of course, as soon as one conference goes too long, the entire night is thrown off.

It’s a long night.

Wednesday

I think Wednesday is one of the easier days. We have a half day where we meet with our 1st-3rd hours until 11:29. Then, conferences begin at 12:30 and end at 3:30 pm. I was able to be home before 5!

Huge shout out to our PTO who set up a taco bar for all the teachers! It was delicioso.

Thursday

Thursday, Thursday, Thursday

We have a half day of school on Thursday where we meet with hours 4-6.

Then, we have evening conferences from 5-8 pm. This means, there’s a 5.5 hour gap between the end of school and the start of parent-teacher conferences. Most teachers go home, but I live almost an hour away from school, so it’s not practical for me to leave.

Ladies and gentlemen, I got SO MUCH DONE!

I organized and purged the contents of my drawers and file cabinets. I swept, dusted, and detailed all around my desk. I graded all the late work and retakes. I got ahead on my lesson plans.

Finally Friday

Friday brings the last half day and no more conferences.

How did it go?

This term’s conferences were sparse, but productive. I was able to talk with several parents who I needed to have discussions with, got great insight and plans in place, and shared many successes.

To help guide the conversation, I have my students take a self-reflection of their behavior and academic success. They answer questions about how they learn best, what they like about school and the class, and how often they ask/answer questions, stay on task, and show respect to others. The students are very honest on these surveys because I’ve built a culture of honesty in the classroom. I would rather my students be honest with me than try to hide things from me. At this point in the year, they trust me to give their honest feedback.

I go over this information with the parents along with a read-out of their grades and present my brief analysis of their answers and grades.

It often feels like teachers and parents are in an us vs them conflict, but we are on the same team. We all want the best for the children in our care. Conferences are a great opportunity to have an in person meeting about successes and areas of improvement.

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