The front door closes and the kids start to go about their afternoon rituals. Snacks, talking to friends, homework and maybe an evening activity.
But have you taken the time to see how their day was? Not just “How was your day?”
There are many different ways to find out more about school and learn more about your child at the same time.
Ask questions that are open ended. Anytime you ask a yes or no question you have to be prepared to get only one word back.
Try one of these questions afterschool today:
- What is the new song that you are learning in choir/band right now? Which part is your favorite of the song?
- What was the best thing that happened at school today?
- Tell me something you learned about a friend today.
- What would you pick for school lunch if you could have anything you wanted?
- Are there any changes that you would want to make at your school?
- Who is your favorite teacher and what do you like about them?
- If you could be Principal for the day what is the first thing that you would do?
- Which rule was hardest to follow today?
- If one of your classmates could be the teacher for the day who would you choose? Why?
- On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your day? Why?
One of our jobs as parents is to raise independent, productive members of society.
When they are small they are totally dependent on you. As they get older, slowly, that dependency decreases. Does that mean our job is over?
Another part of parenting is making sure our children have an appropriate education and attending Parent-Teacher conferences is a great way to make sure that is happening.
Parent-Teacher conferences can be such a joy to attend when kids are young.
You walk in to the welcoming classroom adorned by bright and creative artwork. You are approached by the teacher who comes with a smile on their face and an outstretched hand. They show you a folder of your child’s accomplishments and you leave with a feeling of pride. Even if they say your child moves around too much or talks too much, they can still find positive things to say.
Fast forward to the secondary years. You move from teacher to teacher in a crowded gymnasium (or hallway) to see how your child is doing. Are they missing assignments, can they handle the course load? You leave feeling overwhelmed but optimistic that things will improve now that you have been given the tools needed for your child to succeed.
Many parents decide that conferences are not as important once kids reach the secondary years. However, what that student needs to see is that they have a support system. They need to see that they have parents and teachers who care about their education.
As they get older they may not want to attend conferences with you. So why should you bring the sullen grumpy teen that would rather be with their friends or watching Netflix?
- It’s so valuable to see how your child speaks to an adult on their own behalf.
- A teacher gains a different perspective by watching the parent / student dynamic.
But most of all…
You are empowering them by standing by their side and letting them lead the conversation. You are creating an advocate in your child by letting them make decisions in their education.
Thank you for being an involved parent and making the extra time to attend conferences with you child. They may not thank you today but it will leave a lasting impact on them.
To you, the teacher that made a difference in my life, I thank you today during Teacher Appreciation week.
You were there for me and my classmates as our beloved school closed and we moved to a new school outside of our neighborhood. You chose to loop with our class and taught third grade at one school and fourth at the next.
You didn’t know that the years that you were my teacher my parents had separated and you were my constant.
I loved coming into your classroom.
You taught me more than reading, math and science. You taught me that there are people out there beyond my family who truly care for me.
Always there for a hug with a smile on your face. You taught me that that place I wanted to be was making a difference in the lives of kids. You instilled in me a lifelong love of learning.
Never underestimate the impact one person can have on the world.