our first student-led conference

On Tuesday, I rushed over to pick Miss L up from her after-school program by 2:00pm (yes… 2pm… welcome to school life that is so-not-friendly to the working parent schedule) and then we hurried over to her elementary school campus by 2:20pm. Mr. M drove into the school parking lot just as we crossed the street, and with seconds to spare we walked in to our first “student-led” conference in Miss L’s Kindergarten class.

When I taught 7th/8th grade, all of our conferences used this format, but having your own child lead you through her own work and share her classroom with you is definitely a different experience. She flipped through her writing journal, sharing illustrations of her and Johnny Appleseed and trees with falling leaves, which exhibited to us her progression in both writing structure and language over the past 35 days. She pointed out her student work on the walls, which allowed us to do the inevitable comparison of her work to others in the class to see where she stands. And she shared her accomplishments on the first set of progress reviews she completed, and with all of our help, she set goals for her next review.

And it was weird. Because it was very familiar but also quite new. For one, it was the first conference where I wasn’t the teacher and I wasn’t the student… so I knew what to expect and what was expected of me, but I was still a little nervous. Then there was the actual content of the classroom. In my first few months of teaching, I didn’t have a concrete placement, so I served as a roving teacher and spent a lot of time in the Kindergarten classroom. And while I taught under the “old” California State Standards in my classroom days, I’m also extra familiar with the new Common Core State Standards as I’ve been working on/studying/assisting to implement them for the past six years. So I can look around her classroom and see so many familiar things, but also be amazed by what’s new and improved as well. (Yes… improved… you won’t find me knocking the CCSS because they’re so much better than the fragmented and illogical standards we had before…end teacher/education policy opinion)

I looked over at Mr. M and realized that this was something truly new to him. The classroom, the expectations, the structure of most of it. And that’s not a bad thing at all. It’s just when I realized what a strange place I was suddenly in…

I’ve been a student. I’ve been a teacher. I’ve been an educational advocate. I’ve been an educational researcher and consultant. But now I’m the parent of a student… and this whole gig is truly something I’ve never done before. Hope my first year goes well!

Check out 10 Things a Middle-School Teacher Wants Parents to Know

by Tend Editor at Mode