I don’t know about you, but ever since finishing school I get a little bit jittery walking back in there on the day of parent-teacher interviews. Nervously maintaining my balance in those rickety plastic chairs, while running through the array of unexpected words and statements that might be said, is always a troubling time.
And then I remember… I’m the teacher!
Yes, the name may have changed, from ‘Parent-Teacher Interview’ to ‘Learning Discussions’, ‘Teacher-Student-Parent Chats’, ‘Celebration Conversations’ or even ‘Triangulated Congregations’ (possibly made up) but the purpose is still the same – to discuss the progress and development of students in a constructive way that assumes best intentions from all sides.
Like any normal conversation, it’s about genuinely listening and asking the right kind of questions. But what should you listen for or ask?
I’m glad you asked.
During these conversations, it can feel like a lot of information and words are being thrown around. The important parts to tune into are the anecdotes the teacher shares, along with the purpose the story demonstrates. This not only gives greater insight into your child at school, but also shines a light on the connection and relationship that has been established.
An example of this might be: “Just last week, Roger was jumping into our class discussion about adopting older pets. This really showed the passion he has for helping and thinking of others. He showed fantastic empathy and language too!”
These anecdotes don’t have to be epics. Short, simple and specific stories can say a lot about children in a classroom setting. (If you think you might not get any anecdotes, don’t fret, use the questions below to help your conversation).
LISTEN: A teacher shares everything they want to tell parents, but can’t, during parent-teacher interviews. Post continues after audio.
The descriptions being used about your child are also really important to listen out for. Are they similar to what you would use? (Be honest!). Do the words used speak to your child and sum them up from your experience? If not, it’s okay to clarify what the teacher means. Either way, you’re getting more insights and are all getting on the same page.
Jargon can have a way of getting into any professional conversation, including “differentiated heterogeneous fluid groupings” and “authentic student voice experiences”. During these triangulated congregations interviews, some of these phrases or words might be thrown your way: