A Parent Teacher Conference Without the Parents

Yesterday my school held parent teacher conferences. The turnout for my class, with 21 of 27 students represented, was considered good. Still I was surprised and frustrated by some of the no-shows. Meanwhile, it's March and I have yet to meet a parent of two of my students. This is more than discouraging, it's just sad.

I know these parents work all hours and more than likely multiple jobs. But I've reached out every way I know how, with no success.

Luckily these two students go against the trend I've seen over the years, and are in fact two of my top readers. Nonetheless I wish deeply I could share their learning, their strengths, and needs with someone at home.

In the meantime, I tried something different. I held the conference with the student.

In some ways it was no different from the regular conferences I have during daily lessons. First we talked about her most recent writing piece. Then we looked at her scores from the fall and winter ELA and math simulations. I told her how bright she is and how proud she should feel, but reminded her she has to continue working hard and trying her best. She has a bad habit of being bossy and a bit of a bully and we talked about that too.

Then something strange happened when I asked if she knew that I'm happy to have her in my class. She said no. "No matter how upset I get over her behavior at times," I explained, "that will never change. I love having you in my class, and you should always remember that."

I hope I can find a way soon to meet with her mom and dad to tell them what I told their daughter.


Kimberly said…
It doesn't surprise me at all that you haven't met the parents of two of your students. Actually, like you stated in your post, you should be commended for having the high turnout for your parent/teacher conferences that you did. When I was teaching, I would be lucky if half of my parents showed up for conferences. It's kind of funny that those are the parents (the ones you never meet) that want to be the first to complain at the end of the school year when there's a possibility that their child will be retained when all they had to do was establish a relationship with you, the teacher, to ensure that their child would have a successful school year. I do like, however, that you held the conference with the child. It probably showed the child that you cared more about their success in your classroom than their own parents did (which I'm sure the child already knew anyway). Keep doing what you're doing and have a great rest of the school year.

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