Monday, February 21, 2011

parent meetings are the same in every language.

What? It's true.

This is only my 4th year teaching, so I don't pretend that I'm totally jaded and know everything about the profession. But there are a few things that I have noticed about meetings with parents that seem to be pretty much the same no matter where you go. I've taught in public schools, private schools, a rural school, and, now, a Saudi Islamic school. So I think I've got a pretty decent survey of different meetings.

Generally, teachers need to meet with parents for 2 reasons: academic issues or behavior issues. Oftentimes they are linked...but 99.9 repeating % of meetings are for those reasons. Parent responses are, of course, more varied. And obviously all students and situations are all different. However, as I sat in a parent meeting today where the parent didn't speak English, and I understood only little chunks of the conversation, I heard the things that you hear as a teacher all the time.

"He is a really bright boy, he just needs support..." or "...he just needs to get away from distractions..."

"He just needs to focus..."

"Do you post the homework on the board?"

Lots of them. Anyway...

I sit sometimes and think of the things that make people from different parts of the world similar...and it doesn't really get any more similar than the way that parents care for their children. There is the range of parenting styles, of course. But parents everywhere just want the best for their kids. It's this understanding that (hopefully) exists between parents and teachers that each really does want the best for the kid. I liked sitting in the office with the parent made me realize that even though I didn't really understand his words, I got what he meant. And that, dear readers, is a great feeling.

Vicariously yours,

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