Thursday, 9 June 2016

Parents' Evening

No funny toddler stories tonight; I'm trapped in a Parents' Evening until way past Celeste's bedtime.

I have ambivalent feelings about Parents' Evening. On the one hand, I recognise that they're a really important forum for parents and teachers to discuss a student's progress. When a parent walks away pleased (or not) with their child, it can give the child a valuable confidence boost (or shot across the bows). It also gives me a really warm glow inside seeing a parent so pleased with their child, especially now that I'm a parent myself.

However, there's some things that I dislike a lot. Let's ignore the late night (I can't but...okay). Firstly, the only parents who turn up are the ones who can be bothered: the nice ones. The ones who already care and already praise/admonish where necessary. The parents of the naughty ones generally stay away (probably because they know what sort of evening they'll get). The evening has a tendency to degenerate into a cheerleading contest.

Secondly, you occasionally get this sort of conversation:

PARENT: Bobby doesn't seem to get much homework

ME (checking planner): That's strange. I set homework every week *checks planner and gives examples*

PARENT: There's nothing written down in his homework diary...

ME: Then he's not written it in there and he needs to start if he wants to stop being in detention all the time.

PARENT: Could you write it there for him?

ME: Oh...does Bobby have a literacy problem that isn't on his file?

PARENT: No. He's just a bit lazy.

In a class of 30 students, I'm supposed to start writing down homework for them. What if all 30 asked for it? At no point does the child take any responsibility.

I guess where I'm going with that is that we all have to learn from our mistakes, but only if we're allowed to make them. And if parents are informed of them.

I'm not going to moan, because that's all that people think teachers do, so I'll end on a positive. My school (generally) has great parents and great students and also does a brilliant sandwich buffet to say thank you for staying late. That's not bad at all.

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