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Teachers - Question about ptc

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little turtle posted 3/21/2014 16:37 PM

Hi teachers and other parents!

Teachers, when you're having conferences (report card time) with parents does it matter to you if the student is in the room? Meaning, do you give the same or different information depending on if the child is present? Do you care one way or another if the child is there?

Parents, do you take your kids with you to conferences? Why or why not?

My kids are in kindergarten and second grade. XH and I have a difference in opinion on this and I would like to hear what you guys think!

Teach8 posted 3/21/2014 16:51 PM

Answering as a teacher and a mom. I teach middle school, no, I don't change what I say. I like the kid to be there, it is about taking responsibility for their own learning...many times though,
If it is a "team conference" involving all major subject teachers, we talk to parents first and then bring the student in for the second half.

As a mom, I wouldn't want my kids there for the whole conference. I want to hear it straight with no positive spin. I have a kid with severe adhd, so there is a lot to say! I sometimes bring them in for the second half of the conference...usually at that point it is more positive. Kind of explaining to the student what they are doing well and a plan to help them improve areas they are weak.

Conferences with kids should revolve around plans for improvement and praise for things they already do, not the time to tell them all the things they are doing "wrong." It is very intimidating to have the important adults in your life analyzing everything you do and don't do. I've seen 8th graders break down in tears before a word has been spoken. So a lot of this depends on your child and his/her personality as well.

metamorphisis posted 3/21/2014 16:52 PM

I prefer not to bring my kids because I feel we can discuss the kids more candidly and what the particular issues may be. For example dd was almost failing gym because as the teacher put it "she never came with her uniform and has to sit out". Oh really? Because I wash it every single night and put it in her bag. That gave us a chance to discuss the real issue, which was extreme shyness and not wanting to play competitive games. I don't think it would have gone well if she was there. This was several years ago though.
I think honestly, I've always assumed they are called parent/teacher conferences because that's the time for the parents and teacher to speak privately. We are pretty involved with the kids schools, so there were always other opportunities to speak with the teacher and my children present.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:53 PM, March 21st (Friday)]

unfound posted 3/21/2014 17:00 PM

depends on what's being discussed. somethings it would be beneficial for them to be there, some, not so much.

can you get in touch with the teacher and ask what her preference is?

musiclovingmom posted 3/21/2014 17:17 PM

I've taught music to students aged kindergarten through 8th grade. I actually prefer to have students there. I never tell parents anything I haven't already discussed with the students. I'm a big believer in holding students responsible for their choices. Having both student and parent there leaves little room for 'he said she said' conversations later. I also have pretty strongly held personal beliefs about talking about kids instead of talking with kids.
As a parent, I enrolled my child in a school whose education theory aligns very closely with my own (a public charter where I spent time teaching). They actually encourage kids to be present at conferences for most of the reasons I listed above.

Dreamboat posted 3/22/2014 00:02 AM

I think a lot depends upon the age of the child. For elementary aged kids, I do not think they should be involved in most of the discussion between parent and teacher for the reasons Teach8 mentioned. Young kids can have a difficult time with any criticism.

For middle school kids, I do think it is fine to have the student present, with the option of sending them into the hallway if you need to have a "deep" discussion (like "we are getting D and I worry about DD").

Honestly I have not had a parent teacher conference with any of DD's HS teachers. She has not had any issues that she has not been able to handle herself. I discuss the issues with her and give her pointers if she need to address something with a teacher. And she knows that if she needs me that I will step in. So far that has not happened. I feel like allowing her to handle it on her own helps her learn problem solving skills and builds her confidence. When she goes to college she will need that.

little turtle posted 3/23/2014 19:16 PM

Thanks, everyone.

The teachers asked where the kids were when we arrived... this was the first time I had a conference without them. I think they don't have a preference to have the kids there or not. The kids aren't a part of the meeting, just in the room.

I don't think it's necessary to have a babysitter for conferences. My kids already knew about the things their teachers told me. They are good kids with room for improvement, like all other kids. DS6 is a social butterfly. DS7 need to be more expressive. XH thinks teachers will withhold what they have to say if the child is in the room. And therefore, he made arrangements for his gf to watch the kids while we went to the conference. I prefer the kids to be there so they can hear the teacher tell me about them. There are no secrets or denials. We haven't had any major issues come up. There are no learning disabilities or anything like that.

unfound, we were discussing their report card and anything else that the teacher had to say about the kids.

dreamboat, that's great! There should be more parents like you. I've heard about parents who are still trying to control their kids lives in college!

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