Last night we gathered at my son’s school for that staple of elementary school life that is the parent-teacher conference. It was my son’s teacher, my husband, me, and the second grader himself.
Yes, the student was there. A few weeks ago, both his classroom teacher and his gifted program teacher sent notes home requesting that the students attend the upcoming parent-teacher conferences.
I had heard of this sort of thing for older children like middle school and older. But second grade? Part of me was happy I didn’t have to arrange child care as I have done for every other parent-teacher conference at every other school my son has attended. On the other hand, was this going to prove to be a good use of the paltry 10 or 15 minute slot allotted for the conference? Would we learn just as much or more with him there?
I am not exactly sure.
The structure of both conferences were the same and you could tell there was quite a bit of prep by both student and teacher. First, my son talked about a work habit he was proud of, then he discussed something he wanted to work on. Each was chosen from a list. Then he presented some work, either a piece of writing or a science project. His classroom teacher reviewed some test scores and that was pretty much it.
I was impressed with his presentation skills. You could see the confidence and love of learning exude as he talked about what he was working on. That part was wonderful. I also liked how he knew what he had to work on, and it wasn’t something that was going to be heard secondhand from us.
However, with the children present (we kept the toddler occupied with the tablet), there wasn’t an opportunity to discuss topics that weren’t age appropriate for my son. Not that there were many but still I feel like we were robbed of our time to do so with his teachers. It’s a new school so we want to make sure he is adjusting socially. What if we had a behavioral concern? Also, since most of the time was spent with our son showing us his work, we didn’t cover as many report card topics that we would have otherwise.
I know we can always call or email and set up another meeting but I feel like this was the meeting. We only get one chance a year. There is not another parent-teacher conference built into the schedule for the school year.
Do your children attend parent-teacher conferences with you? Do you think this is better suited for older students or should younger elementary school students attend? For my readers who are teachers, what do you think? Please share with a comment.
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