Parent Teacher Conferences, Oh My!
How did teacher conferences go for you this year?
Teacher conferences, you either look forward to them or dread them. They just don’t seem to be the type of thing we feel indifferent about.
A few different things may have happened for you at this year’s conferences.
- You may have fallen out of your chair hearing about how wonderful your child is because at home you are on the receiving end of a bad attitude 🤣
- You receive confirmation that your child is in fact struggling 😥
- The teacher seems frustrated and not a great fit for your child 😒
- The teacher gives thoughtful ideas of ways to support your child so they can shine 🤗
Clearly, there are a lot of possibilities. If you heard 2 or 3 you might feel judged as a parent or maybe you feel like your child is carrying the burden of a label that just isn’t right. However you are feeling, acknowledge the emotion, experience it, and let it go. Move into the space of embracing your beautiful child while considering next steps.
Remember when we talked about Marie Forleo’s book, Everything is Figureoutable? Stressful outcomes from parent teacher conferences are figureoutable. Getting stuck in frustration is not the answer.
Next might mean advocating intensely for your child, tightening up organizational systems at home, getting extra out of school support for your child, or educating yourself on your child’s challenges.
Step back and put things in perspective. Think about areas of your child’s life where things are going well. Consider discussing with your child and their teacher if there are ways to incorporate some easy areas of success.
For example, when Sam came to us he was a third grader and he was really struggling with working independently, refraining from calling out answers, and getting along with his peers. He was wonderful with younger children and absolutely loved reading. Midway during the school day is when he faced most of his challenges. His teacher looked into what was happening in the library for that 30 minutes of time. Fortunately, kindergartners were there on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so Sam got to reset his brain two times per week reading to kindergartners.
Tori, an eighth grader, was struggling with anxiety which tended to amp up during lunch. Tori’s guidance counselor needed help organizing different college displays and Tori loved organizing. The guidance counselor asked Tori if she would like to help with this project during her lunch period with a friend. This gave Tori a break from the pressure of engaging during lunch and she could enjoy a strength area while she learned new strategies for managing her anxiety.
Each of these examples came from conversations parents had with their child’s teacher. Take what you learn during parent teacher conferences and create next steps. Find someone in your child’s school, a friend, someone whose child used to go to the same school and brainstorm ideas for thinking outside of the box to help your child experience moments when they can use their strengths.
If you had fantastic conferences this year take note of what is working! Children, teens, adults, none of us just “do” better randomly. Something shifts like a mindset, development, adding in new strategies or support people. It is important to know the why so the growth continues even through new challenges.
What creative solutions has your child experienced? Comment here and let us know!