October and November are parent-teacher conference months for most schools across Southern California. Some of us look forward to one-on-one time with teachers while others dread it. Research proves that family involvement that is linked to learning leads to bigger success at school.
Parent teacher conferences had me freaked the first time. Now, I think they’re fun. Yes: FUN. Why? Because what’s more fun than feeling good about getting your kid on the right track? It’s like parent crack (in a good way, you know).
My mom was a teacher. My sister is a teacher. My dad’s mom (yes, my grandma) was a teacher. To say that I’ve grown up hyperconscious about what kind of first impression you give a teacher is a wild understatement. Growing up and to this day, I’ve heard all sorts of tall true tales about how parents ‘forget’ to show up at conferences, how some sit and counter-argue teachers (if and when the teacher cites something the child might need to work on at home — whether it be behavior-wise or academically) and how some parents have the delusional and perceived authority to tell the teacher how to do his/her job (when that parent has not been in the classroom to witness what goes on first hand).
Parents, I love us… but c’mon. Get a grip. Our kids aren’t perfect. (Yes, I’ve prodded some of my own kids’ teachers to tell me what we need to work on the most at home to help them succeed and make the classroom run more smoothly.) Teachers know one side of our kids and we know another side. And yes, it’s up to US to turn these brief meeting with our children’s educators into some kind of freaky-fun and solution-oriented chats to keep us all on a forward-moving track. What did I tackle with new mom and anchor Suzie Suh on CBS Los Angeles? WATCH:
Some quickie reminders to keep in mind:
- Parents and teachers are on the same team.
- Listen respectfully, even if your child’s teacher offers surprises related to behavior or habits.
- Ask what you can do at home to solve any issues or trouble spots happening in the classroom.
- Tell your child’s teacher in about any drastic changes happening at home that might affect your child at school, such as pending divorce, sibling problems, health or sleep or eating issues.
- Watch your language. The word “but” can accidentally put someone on the defense.
- Commit to follow-up. Don’t let the parent-teacher conference be the only time you connect with your child’s teacher.
You’re more than welcome to applaud my efforts or boo them. As a non-teacher, I have more passion about this topic than I probably should… which is why I wanted to talk about it on air. Because this is about our kids, our teachers, our schools, our communities. It all matters. (The police/community relationship has already broken down… can we try to save the teacher/community relationship at least?!?)
You can catch some more tips about approaching parent-teacher conferences on CBSLA.com — with inside quotes and info from folks who’ve served as teachers and administrators and links to more resources and everything. Go forth. Have fun.
Since February 17, 2016, you can now catch “The FAB Mom on 2” every Wednesday night at 5pm and Friday mornings at 6:30am on CBS Los Angeles’ Channel 2! Like CBSLA on Facebook, Like The FAB Mom’s *NEW* Facebook Page and comment, ask, request and shout what YOU want us to talk about. And share, share, share what you like on Twitter & Facebook using #CBSLA … just like your mama taught ya.