- Teachers: Stop What You’re Doing - October 12, 2020
- Ending White Supremacy is a White Educators’ Fight - August 4, 2020
- Before a New School Year Begins, We Must Grieve - July 20, 2020
- Preparing for a Long Journey of Anti-Racist Teaching - June 11, 2020
- Mental Health Support for Remote Teaching and Learning - April 29, 2020
- New York City Schools Are Closed. Now What? - April 13, 2020
- 5 Unexpected Benefits of Remote Teaching - April 5, 2020
- President Mike Bloomberg Would Be a Nightmare for Public Schools - March 2, 2020
- It’s Time to Rethink Your School’s “Holiday” Celebrations - December 18, 2019
- We Teach Children, Not Curriculum - December 5, 2019
With a total of five hours to meet 20-something families, elementary school teachers in New York City have between 10 and 15 minutes for each conference. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to cover a child’s academic progress, social-emotional progress, areas for growth in these areas, and provide suggestions for supporting learning at home.
It’s no surprise then that teachers can end up talking the whole time and still feel like they didn’t say everything they needed to. It’s not surprising, but it’s a shame. Because in many schools, Parent-Teacher Conferences are one, if not the only, time when families and teachers to meaningfully engage around student learning. If a teacher ends up doing most or all of the talking then that’s a missed opportunity.
Family-Teacher Conferences* are not only a time for teachers to communicate about student learning to families. Communication must be bilateral. Beyond the obvious issue of respect, it’s an issue of gaining valuable information. As the authors of Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships write:
“Educators can learn a great deal from parents. Parents and other family members bring knowledge and perspective about their children, their culture and values, and the strengths and problems of their communities.”