Today I had back to back conferences from early in the morning until the end of the school day. I spent most of yesterday completing all the folders and writing notes so that I could remember what to say in each one. I felt very organized when I left school but, of course, when I got home, I began to stress a bit about all of the things that I wanted to make sure to say.
I began to pray through all of these conferences. What a joy that was to be able to spend some time thinking about the strengths of each student. It changes how I go into conferences when I take the time to thank God for each child and to pray for wisdom for our discussions .
I was reminded today how much I love parent conferences! After being in hundreds of IEP meetings over the years, I have often seen the ways that collaboration between home and school is a major key in a child’s success. I love being part of that collaboration. Whether it’s an “easy” conference or a more difficult one, the process of connecting and talking about strategies and tools for a student’s success makes me excited.
Sometimes there is a fear that there will be fireworks during the conference if there are disagreements or hard things shared, but when we focus on the relationship and work towards finding common ground, there is a joy in knowing that we can work together as a team.
I’m thankful tonight for the things that were shared in our meetings-the strengths and the hard things. There were times today that I was reminded that there is a bigger picture. Sometimes academics and the school day are the least of these students’ worries.
I’m thankful for each family that God has placed my students in. I’m thankful for all the teachers that I have worked with over the years that have so genuinely cared for their students-not just the academic part of their students but the whole child. I pray that we would continue to be able to work together as a team to encourage and challenge each student as they take their next step towards independence.
What is your favorite part of parent conferences? How do you prepare? How do you encourage parents and students during these meetings?