MCSD Whiteboard: Parent-teacher conference means so much more when it’s led by the student
Leaves are falling, the air is cooling, pumpkin spice is selling and, as ever before, the time is fast approaching for Moffat County School District parent-teacher conferences.
For some parents, it might be easy to understand why it could feel like a repetitive exercise.
You gather around the teacher’s desk. Maybe, if your child is in elementary school, you’re sitting in tiny, child-sized chairs at a small, child-height desk. There are rows and rows of similar but never identical children’s work on the walls in the hall and in the classroom, and memories of your own scholastic experience come rushing back as you look at posters of vocabulary words or math skills or history facts. You smile at the motivational statements on your kid’s teacher’s walls. Several remind you to be kind — a good reminder to an adult as much as a youngster.
And then you go over some test scores, look at some work and chat about your son or daughter in class. Your child’s teacher, unless you happened upon him or her at the beginning of the day, is probably exhausted, but is determined to offer as energetic and personalized an experience to you as he or she has for every student’s parents. Maybe this time there’s a concern, and she gently asks if you’re working on this at home. Or perhaps this year things are off to a great start, and he tells you what a delight your child is to have in class.
But, while there’s a predictability to the ritual, perhaps, it’s easy to see why it’s so important.
Teachers are powerful figures in a child’s life. Throughout their youth, from small to tall, these kids get mentorship, examples, expert attention and instruction, not to mention critical information from these great educators.
In Moffat County, we have some of the best. But for all the training, all the skills, and all the effort a teacher might and surely does put forth, educating a child is a team effort. It takes mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, auntie and uncle and whoever else might have access to a young person to raise up a successful future member of our community.
In Moffat County Schools, our teachers’ mission is to educate and inspire students to thrive in an environment of change. But to do that, teachers need help. They need parents and caretakers to play a sizable, critical role.
That’s why we meet. And, just as importantly, that’s why Moffat County School District focuses on ensuring that parent-teacher conferences are student-led.
When the student directs the conversation, so much can be learned, on both sides of the conference table. Or, truly, on all sides. The teacher can better understand where a student may be struggling, or where he or she may want to spend more time. The parents can better understand how the teacher is approaching their child, and, critically, how they can help the child reach their goals. And the student can witness just how much the adults in his or her life take interest and concern in their own education.
What could be a better use of time than that?
All students can learn. But all students deserve the environment and support they need in order to thrive, both in the classroom and out of it. That’s what parent-teacher conferences — and so much else we do at MCSD — is all about.
We look forward to seeing you parents and caretakers next week in the conferences. We hope you’ll come, as we hope your student enters the classroom every day, ready to listen, ready to learn, ready to engage, and ready to take an active role in your child’s education.
Conferences will be held Thursday, Oct. 27, and Friday, Oct. 28. Elementary schools will hold their Thursday conferences between 4 and 7 p.m., while the middle and high schools will hold theirs from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. All schools will hold Friday conferences 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
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