Sunday, February 10, 2008

Parent - Teacher Conferences

This past week, I attended Parent-Teacher conferences for my boys.

These meetings are scheduled for a mere 15 minutes. How can a discussion of this magnitude even scratch the surface in this time??? Our children are our pride and joy; or at least a major part of our lives. This is the one topic that I can blather on about incessantly.Can you imagine getting a fifteen minute performance review at work? I felt like I was speed dating!

Speed Conferencing
I rushed from work to get to school, barely on time. Breathlessly I arrive to a closed door. There was a sign on the door, " Please knock when it is your scheduled conference time." I looked at my watch. it was my time now and I gently knocked.
A few minutes went by and I peered through the window into the room. The teacher and parent, seated at a table seemed unaware of my presence.
"Did they hear my knock?" I wondered.
Should I try again or wait patiently? As I struggled with this issue and was about to tap the door again, I noticed some signs that the meeting was coming to a close. The straightening of papers, slowly pushing away from the table and finally standing up and heading toward the door, signaled that it was finally my turn.
I glanced at my watch as I headed into the classroom. My scheduled time is half over!
I have 7 minutes to discuss my child before spilling into the next parent's time.
It seemed like we were just getting started when I heard a tapping on the door. I followed the teacher's lead and tried to ignore the fact that I was now encroaching on the next session. I couldn't help but feel rushed. I breezed through the rest of the conference trying to pick up one or two areas that I can help my child with. As I left the classroom, avoiding eye contact with the waiting party, I looked at my watch. I had used my alloted time and left the next parent in the same time deficit.
Fortunately I had seven minutes until my next conference. We learned our lesson from last year and made sure there were no back to back sessions. Last year we had a chatty teacher that was running 10 minutes behind followed by a teacher who was a stickler for staying on schedule. Needless to say, things did not go well.

My 6:00 conference started on time! I was amazed! I asked the teacher how she was able to stay on time. It turned out she lost 30 minutes of her 45 minute dinner break to get back on schedule. I tried to make sure I kept to my time slot!

I think next time I will take either the first or last time slots.

1 comment:

Tara R. said...

I hate this speed conferencing. If there is any sort of issue that HAS to be addressed, you need sufficient time to work out solutions. With our son, we try to set up team sessions with all his teachers since his issues (ADHD, OCD and panic/anxiety disorder) affect him in all his classes. We can set up longer sessions and answer all questions only once.