On Parent/Teacher Conferences and Enjoying the Journey
It’s been incredible having our new arts and community spaces available (and no construction on campus) this fall, and we continue to find new ways to enjoy the Logan Loft and Ann Van Deusen Campus Commons. But none of this would matter nearly as much were it not for our outstanding team of Burgundy teachers!
Our teachers are the heart and pulse of Burgundy. They are dedicated educators who know and love their students and who, therefore, can make learning personal and exciting, finding the natural connections among learning disciplines and also by bridging what children already know to what they will learn!
Next week, following our annual Halloween parade, we’ll have Lower School parent conferences, and later in November (yes, by the end of next week, we’re into November, folks!), Middle School parents also will have their conferences.
Fall conferences are an opportunity mid-semester, now that we’ve been in school several weeks, to share a progress report and insights on our kids’ start in school this year. Information shared in conferences helps empower each partner in the learning triangle -- parent, teacher, and, yes, student -- in his/her/their role(s) during the second part of the semester, in support of each child’s personal, individual learning and growth.
Relatedly, here’s a few additional thoughts for parents, offered by an educator who’s also a parent experiencing parent emotions at the conference and report card times of year!
One: strive to be open to hearing what teachers, who spend so much time with them, are observing about your kids -- their perspectives are offered with love and respect and the understanding that every child (as with every person) is on some continuum of yet incomplete development in various categories of normal growth.
Two: share your own observations where that information could be useful to teachers but remember that we’re talking about behavior and performance in different environments, and it’s perfectly natural that we may observe different behaviors and habits at home and at school.
Three: our students’ journeys are not supposed to be ‘perfect’ or without struggle, bumps, etc. Our job is not trying to prevent the bumps or struggles. In fact, these are typically the most important part of the school experience. Therefore, by far the most important and valuable learning that we can ‘give’ or equip our children with at each level of their Burgundy journey is a sense that they, to a developmentally appropriate degree, can manage challenges. Our job is to build capacity to manage challenges, not to eradicate them. We build a sense of efficacy and confidence by continually teaching children that we believe in them and will support them and their best efforts, wherever they are in the journey, whether toward reading fluidly or doing two-digit subtraction or making a sculpture, hitting a series of sweet-sounding notes or kicking a soccer ball…!
I hope that some of that will be useful. Good luck in conferences. It’s these open, frank, child-centered exchanges that create the most solid and effective partnering. And remember, these are conversations! Nothing stated in a conference is permanent; all that we discuss is developmental and normal! Keep optimistic and confident, and so will your child. Enjoy the journey, all of it.