Chief Academics Officer's Blog
Helen S. Chaset, Ed.D. Director of Special Services: Parent Teacher Conferences
This week you will have an opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher. As I reflect back on my years as a parent attending parent-teacher conferences, I recall how I looked forward to those conferences with optimism, anticipation and fear. And as I reflect back on my years as a teacher and principal holding parent conferences, I am struck by the significance of the learnings I gained from listening to parents. One of my administrator colleagues was fond of saying, “Parents aren’t always right about their children, only 95 percent of the time.”
Sara Lightfoot Lawrence, author of The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn from Each Other writes that at each conference, parents and teachers have an opportunity to develop trust and empathy if they can focus on the specific strengths and capacities of the individual child, providing descriptive evidence of progress and/or areas of need. Once parent and teacher build that trust, it becomes a foundation for the student’s continued growth and development.
Our teachers at Hillel have prepared for your conference. There will be much they have to share with you. But they also want to hear from you. What goals do you have for your child this year? What interests your child at home and how does s/he like to spend leisure time? What does your child say he likes best about school? What are her favorite subjects?
Prior to your upcoming conference, think about your own experiences in school. Then leave those thoughts behind. Often we see ourselves reflected in our children and we project our childhood learning style, preferences, worries, likes and dislikes onto them. The conference you will have this week is an opportunity to see your child anew. Listen, look and take notes in the conference. Share your views in order to add to the perspective offered by the teacher. Use that joint perspective to help your Hillel student continue to grow into a lifelong learner.
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