Remember the individual
Remember in your world a child is one in a class or year group, but to them that child is their everything.
Your life as a teacher will be made that much easier if you have parents on side. It’s about them knowing that you have their child’s best interest at heart and them knowing that you truly do KNOW their child (sometimes difficult when twins are involved)
Constant dialogue – no surprises
Parents evenings are not a platform for dropping nuclear bombs of information on parents. It is a simple exercise of updating them of progress and targets moving forward. It is also a lovely opportunity to discuss their child’s emotional wellbeing and how they are progressing as a person and maturing and growing and becoming their best selves. It is an opportunity to share tips and pointers to assist their child in working towards specific social and cultural goals. Becoming citizens for the world and preparing them for their next journey.
If there are significant concerns academically or emotionally or socially or ANYTHING – make sure you have had those conversations beforehand. You need to build a rapport and relationships with the parents as much as you do with the children in your care. Ensure that you have had the big conversations and then you may use parents evening as a touching base conversation about how the support systems you have put in place are working, or if you need to change a few things to encourage further improvement.
Involve the children
Have your children get involved in preparing for parents evening too by writing down their own personal goals, targets and room for improvements. This also ensures that conversation have happened at home between them and already everyone is more informed by the time you get to parents evening. Depending on your school’s book policy – also possibly send the books home before hand so that the parents are aware of what content is being covered and an opportunity to see what comments have been made and targets set by you. Also make sure if homework hasn’t been done, or a poor test score has been achieved that you have already communicated with the parents that this is the case and that you require their support at home.
Best bit of advice I could possibly offer.
As much as you need to be prepared – it allows for parents to be prepared too - and the limited time you have available in your scheduled slots will then be productive, positive and on good terms.
And on a personal note – pack your toothbrush, hairbrush, face spritzer and whatever else that will make you feel nice and fresh after a long day of teaching. A bit of lipstick or aftershave will go a long way making you feel a smidge more alive! 😊 Happy days all round.
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About the author
Chantal Dos Santos
Chantal was a teacher for the past 17 years. Starting off in Primary education in the beginning of her career, then moving on to teaching maths and science. She has taught in South Africa, America and the UK. She was then Head of Science for a few years before becoming the Head of the Upper School at an independent boy’s prep school. Chantal heads up the ECT side of Eteach; looking at how we can attract graduates and then how we can work on supporting them throughout their 2-year induction period and ultimately supporting and guiding ECTs to retain them in the education sector.