Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

The Parents Are Coming

on October 8, 2010
Back to School Night

Image by sfrancisball via Flickr

So, I’m siting here, waiting for my very first Curriculum Night at my new middle school.  For those who aren’t familiar with Curriculum Nights, they are basically a chance for parents to come to the school, hear from the administration and then from the teachers about what their children are going to be working on this year and what to expect in the coming months. It’s been emphasized several times that this is “not a time for individual conferences.”

I’ve never done a Curriculum Night before.  My first school had two sets of parent teacher conferences, in which the parents would come on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each would get five to ten minutes of a teacher’s time to review 1st marking period grades and any other issues. Then they’d be shuffled off to their student’s next teacher and another set or parents would take their place.  It could get intense when a lot of parents showed up, but that rarely happened. Most parents never showed, especially not the ones that teachers really needed to talk to.

The last school I was at had a “Back To School” night in September that was essentially the same thing as a Curriculum Night.  The funny thing is that both years that I worked there, I wasn’t hired until after the Back to School Night was held. 

So this is really my first time going through one of these.  The funny thing is that I only have a total of eight students in my self-contained classroom, and that’s if they are all there.  Some periods I only have one or two.  My guess is that there will be some time for “individual conferencing.”

I actually like meeting my student’s parents.  I get such an insight into where they are coming from and what their daily life outside of school is like.  Plus, who knows their kids better than their parents?  They can help me help my students in many ways. I learned a long time ago not to be nervous when meeting with parents – you are all there for the same reason: to help the student succeed.  Look at them as teammates, not antagonists.  Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but if I start with that attitude, it’s a lot easier to achieve that result.

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