Week 5: 3/26-3/30
This week was a short one, with the students, but did not lack in new teaching experiences. With only Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with the students we made and effort to focus on review of concepts already learned and to introduce our study of Temperate Rainforest before the long spring break. Additionally, we worked hard to complete accurate assessments before Thursday and Friday when parent teacher conferences were scheduled. Although, I have been through this experience with my own children as the parent I have not yet participated as the teacher. I was impressed and amazed at the complete confidence and support that my mentor teacher shared with each student and parent. Each conference was unique to the student and allowed the parents a myriad of information about their child’s academic performance and social growth. Each conference was filled with details of student progress and yet offered glimpses of personal achievements and social growth.
The quick 30 minute conferences do not allow for unpreparedness and by no means was my mentor teacher unprepared. She has a system of filing that gives each student a drawer with pertinent information and student work to share with each parent. When it is time for conferences she merely has to organize the paperwork and she is ready to go. This paperwork includes assessments for reading fluency and comprehension, samples of student math work, writing samples, and M.A.P. testing scores. She provides both numerical and pictorial graphs for parents to visualize and understand their child’s academic successes as compared to the national and school district norms. In advance she has students write what they are most proud of for each area; writing, reading, mathematics and social skills. Each student shares these proud accomplishments as well as goals for the remainder of the year. The student becomes an active participant in the conference. What captivated me the most was the depth that my mentor teacher understands the individuality of each of the students. She “gets” individual student learning style and social well-being. She supports not only academic but social growth for each student and throughout the conferences was able to share with parents support for any concerns they might have. I was also able to witness as one student who has struggled for years, finally qualify for the support of a I.E.P. This turned out to be a relief to everyone; the parents, the teacher and most of the entire student. She now will receive support to support her academic success and the skills to apply for future learning environments. It was amazing to see how closely the special educational staff and the classroom teachers work with students and parents all to benefit academic growth.
I feel very fortunate to have participated in such a seamless parent-teacher conference schedule. Although, each conference is only a 30 minute session, in this short amount of time everyone seemed well attended to and their needs were met. Each conference provided specific individual student details and provided a deep understanding of each student. I am sure that in the future I will develop my own routines for conference time. For now I am glad to say that I had the experience of witnessing conferences from a teacher perspective. I hope that when I have a class of my own I will be able to connect as thoroughly with each student’s individuality and offer support for parental concerns as well as my mentor.