I can clearly picture my eight-year-old self staring out the large window, waiting for my parents to come home from my parent-teacher conference. I wanted to know what my teacher said, how I was doing, and what was wrong with me. The stress as the minutes ticked by increased as I got older, and the stakes were higher. As my parents shared the details with me, I am not sure I paid attention.
When I became a teacher, that memory stuck with me, and in my first year as I sat discussing students with parents, I felt something was missing. I realized it was not something but someone. The student should be part of the conversation; after all, it is his or her learning we are discussing.
From that point on, I transitioned to student-led conferences with elementary students. That first year they took 45 minutes per child, and I was meeting with students and their parents during my lunch, after school, or at night at the public library. It took a month to get through all students, but the pride in both the student’s and parent’s faces made it all worth it.…Read More