Monday, January 19, 2015

Parent Teacher Conferences - 1969 vs. Today

 Have you seen this cartoon before? I saw it again the other day and thought it might make for an interesting discussion in light of parent teacher conferences that are upon us for the second quarter. It is fairly popular amongst educational circles, and it is often used to discuss the change in responsibility in education today. Rather than asking the child why he has poor grades, parents are questioning the academics of teachers and schools.

As educators, we might first be on the defense. How can parents question an adult over a ten-year-old? Yet, perhaps we can empathize with them on their point. Failing schools and empty budgets lead us as educators to know that materials and extracurricular teachers have been lost over the years, and those responsibilities have been handed to classroom teachers. Therefore, we may understand why a parent may raise concerns.

However, this cartoon may lead to a deeper concern. In the first half of this cartoon, the child is the one that is supposed to learn from his poor grades. In the second half of this cartoon, the teacher is supposed to learn from the poor grades. Didn't the teacher already attend school? Why are their grades being called into question? Who is really learning in this situation?

The child benefits when we can explain our methods to the parents to help improve those grades. The child learns when we can give parents simple strategies at home to benefit the student. The child benefits when their is a good relationship between the parents and the teacher. As you sit down with parents at conferences in the coming weeks, may God bless your communication that it may benefit His child!