I’ve just been to my son’s parents’ evening; earlier this term I went to my daughter’s. I just want to say Thank You! It’s such a privilege to sit on the parents’ side of the desk, talking to a series of committed, professional people who know my children in ways that I don’t, sharing their passion for what they do and spurring my kids on. On both occasions the kids left encouraged, motivated and challenged, their commitment to learning affirmed and their relationships with their teachers strengthened.
As a parent I left both events full of admiration for the wonderful people who play such a big part in my children’s lives. Now I get why my son loves geography so much; I can see where his enthusiasm for their latest English project started; and now I know he’s actually quite good at Art – he’d kept that quiet. I’m grateful to my daughter’s teachers for giving her a burst of much-needed encouragement to get through the early barriers of the GCSE-AS transition – and for letting us know about the minor punctuality issue!
Both my children’s schools do a decent job dealing with the inherent logistical imperfections of parents’ evenings. One school issues computer generated appointments for the teachers you are allocated (you can’t see them all – because they simply don’t have time); the other allows us to book our own appointments online. It works. There are gaps and delays but when you sit down for your five golden minutes – it just seems worth it. These are the people behind the stories; these are the people who have my children’s education in their hands – and it was lovely to meet you!!
Things that really work for me:
- The teacher talks to my children directly – asks them how they are doing; involves them in the discussion right away.
- They have some concrete information to share – marks in a mark book or examples of work on which to base the discussion – but no Levels; thank goodness those have gone. The most recent parents’ evenings have been a total levels-free joy. It’s all about authentic assessments, actual bits of work and general guidance for pushing forward.
- They reference specific examples of work – they really know who the kids are and what their learning looks like.
- They have something to offer by way of ‘what’s next’.
- They give affirming praise freely and offer constructive feedback with warmth.
Several times during the recent parents’ evenings, I’ve told the teachers how much my children enjoy their lessons. The reaction is lovely – it’s appreciated. They probably don’t hear it enough; parents give praise to their children’s teachers too sparingly. Whatever concerns arise, I see it as an opportunity to say Thank You.
Teachers, you may have no idea how important you are and how often you feature in our evening conversations but I want you know that I’m deeply grateful for all that you do for my children every day. I really am. Once again, Thank You.