The first very important thing that I learned in parent teacher conferences was how to best deal with parents. Karen is very straightforward and to the point. She does not sugar coat situations, but I feel that she did a fantastic job at making sure parents knew how important their student was to her; Karen had nothing but good, kind and wonderful things to say about her students to their parent’s. Something I really liked was that prior to conferences, if a student was missing work in her class, Karen had made sure that she had sat down and talked with that student, this way there was nothing within the conference that would surprise the student/catch the student off guard. It also allowed time for the student to go home and discuss with their parents what they might here in conferences before hand as well, again, no surprises.
It was really difficult to see how many students come from broken homes. I feel like since I have been in elementary school that number has really climbed. There were also quite a few moms that couldn’t have been very much older than I am now. To be honest, that really freaked me out. I can’t imagine currently having children old enough to be in elementary school. There were also a lot of situations where students come from homes that are unstable, diverse (living with relatives), and even scary. It’s amazing how strong these kids can be, and are.
I have also decided that I am going to put an emphasis on becoming fluent in Spanish. We had 11 students in our classroom that required a translator for their conferences. There were times when we would have to postpone the conference and wait for a translator to show up, and other times when we wouldn’t have one at all and another family member would have to translate. It was 1. Stressful, 2. Impersonal, and 3. Who knows how much can get lost in translation. I don’t want parents to feel a disconnect with their child’s teacher, and I think that it is SO important for that parent-teacher relationship. It was just so sad to watch, because I felt that it was so impersonal between Karen and some parents, where as with other parent’s she could just have a conversation for minutes on end about anything/everything. I also think that becoming fluent in Spanish would make it so that I was a little more valuable, because as much as some teachers would like to deny it, the amount of non-English speaking parents is rapidly growing.
The rest of the day went fine, like I said, it was great to hang out with Karen and some of the other teachers. I feel like I am really learning a lot. Karen does such a great job at including me in SO much, and I really feel like I am a vital part of her class and McKinney.