Sunday, March 23, 2014

Conversation Snippets at Parent Teacher Conferences

"If you have any problems with her (=my daughter), just contact my son. He is my consultant."

"Every time I ask my daughter if she need help, she always say no. What do I do? Wallah, I want to help her."

"Ms, could you just tell my dad something nice?"
"Why? Are you worried about your grades?"
"You know he does not like Cs. He's gonna take my phone."

"Where are the teachers?"

"Do you need Mr. A to translate?"
"My English better.  I study English at JFS for six months. I can now help my kids learn."

"How are my kids?"
"Your daughter is doing much better. She is working hard and I can see so much improvement in her."
"How about my son?"
"Does he do any work at home?"
"I don't know."
"He has so much potential, but he really needs to practice more at home."
"Okay."

"Does my son talk at school?"
"Yes, he is learning English, and he is already speaking a little bit."
"He does not like to talk at home. I get him a job this summer. You think this is good? I don't want him watch TV all summer."

"April 1st. That is the anniversary of their mother's death. The day is almost here."




28 comments:

  1. Oh my. Parent conferences are always so telling. The often illustrate the behind the scene issues that we already know are there and are can be the obstacles in the way for our students. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Behind the scene issues....those come up at every meeting.

      Delete
  2. The families, relationships, expectations and conversations can be so different. As a teacher you have to be ready to respond in all situations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right! Many times I wish I spoke more languages as then I wouldn't need a translator!

      Delete
  3. As I enter into any parent conference I always remember that as I talk about a child to a parent, I am holding their heart in my words. And that unless I walk a mile in the shoes of another, I can't judge, even when what seems to be important to me, doesn't seem important to the other. This has served me well in some very difficult conversations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What wise words you have Deborah! Perhaps I need to make a sign with your words...

      Delete
  4. I'm so thankful I get to have my students for several years. That makes conferences easier, since I already have a relationship with so many of the families from previous years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maria, I am lucky too that I have had many siblings from the same families. I also work with my students more than just a year (ESL teacher that I am). I enjoy getting to know my students.

      Delete
  5. Such real statements...all of them. Every family is so different - so unique - so special. It is a reminder that we should never assume we know what goes on after a student leaves our room. The layers of learning, loving, and mourning in their lives are complex and intricate scaffolds that some times, fall apart and other times tenuously hold our children together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anita, you are so right! Even when we think, never assume! Great advice.

      Delete
  6. Such a heartfelt and timely post, Jaana. Conferences are such windows into the family that we don't have otherwise. I worked at a school a long time ago where we were required to visit in the homes two times during the year. It was wonderful, but not so easy always. Thanks for this! Maria echoes my personal response-having kids more than a year was always helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I need to write a post just based on these comments today. Everyone has such wise words to share!

      Delete
  7. Jaana,
    Thanks for sharing the window on the world that is conferencing...It's helpful to understand where they are coming from as your post shows...as teachers, I think we need stronger doses of empathy these days-life is not easy for many many families...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Stronger doses of empathy" another wise counsel!

      Delete
  8. Wonderful! Our conferences are coming soon. I expect we will hear many similar things. One boy knows there will be a conversation about the XBOX.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with your conferences! Wise words can be found in all these comments today!

      Delete
  9. Oh, conferences... I think I have heard most of those snippets in my own career at some point in time or another. I think I am always most amazed at the vast spectrum of perception of school, homework, and learning. If we all viewed it with the same amount of importance and were able to attack with the same amount of drive, wouldn't our work be so much easier? Probably not, but I like to think it might. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is often about perception, isn't it.

      Delete
  10. I have always found parent conferences to be eye opening. Sometimes the glimpse you get into a child's home life is more than you bargained for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean! I am still trying to figure out what to do about the anniversary of my students' mother's death in a few days....

      Delete
  11. You learn so much at these conferences - and sometimes they leave you with more questions and issues than you had before the conference!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes questions are good as they make me find new ways of teaching.

      Delete
  12. Oh, yes, parent conferences. We used to have our first conferences early in the year instead of before report cards, so we could get to know more background and establish a working relationship. It is always good to know "the rest of the story" for students.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Last week was the second conference day of the year. I only met one new parent, but it is still good to talk with the families!

      Delete
  13. When parents talk, we learn a lot of the whys and hows that we had wondered about our students. I always ended conferences with a better understanding of my students behavior and drive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elsie, so very right. I always learn more!

      Delete
  14. I think conferences are difficult enough as it is, let alone having cultural and language barriers. I admire your work these students. I am sure it is quite frustrating and rewarding all at the same time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is absolutely more rewarding than frustrating!!!! If we had less testing, it would be even less frustrating....

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Please stop by again.