Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Conferences, Parents, and Technology

Conferences rock! We completed our first round of conferences yesterday. How did it go? Did you get sick of talking? Did you get sick of repeating yourself? Did you get sick of the parents just staring at you-waiting for you to say some more stuff? 

Here are some scenarios you may have encountered:
Teacher: "Do you have any questions?"

Parent: "Nope." 
Teacher: "Okay, sounds good. Thank you for coming." 
(Parent continues to look at you, not moving) 

Or, how about this: 

Parent (without kid) sits down at your table and just stares at you, waiting for you to tell them about their kid, like the teacher has memorized what each kids' parent looks like. Teacher is thinking, "Who is your kid? You, the 42 year old mother, look nothing like your 12 year old son so I have absolutely no idea who your kid is." 

Or, how about this: 
After skimming over the list of grades for their child which includes ten grades of "A" and one grade of "B+" and the parent stops on that B+ and asks, "So, what happened here?" And the teacher is thinking, "Uh, they got a question wrong."

Conferences do get long but I think it's a good opportunity to touch base with parents, even those who do not have struggling kids. It's good to meet them in person, it's good for parents to hear how great their child is doing. It's good for parents to hear that their child is struggling but there's a plan as far as what we are going to do about it.

Yesterday, I saw a lot of evidence supporting the technology movement. About 90% of the conferences I had (90 total), the parents made some comment about technology. Many, many parents said how much they love getting the text messages notifications. Many, many parents said they wished all the teachers did it. So, why aren't you? Many, many parents said how much they liked my website, which shows they want the technology. It helps them. It helps them help their kid. If your website has nothing on it except the lesson plans, you are missing a huge opportunity to reach students and parents. It's the times, folks, we are in the Techno Age. It's a freight train in education. Let's get on board.

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