Friday, November 15, 2013
Approaching the parent-teacher conference
Blog reader Sara asked on the previous post about advocating for your gifted child. The staff of the Davidson Institute posted a number of their online resources, which I recommend looking at. In this post, I'd like to talk about how people have approached parent-teacher conferences. Ideally, there is plenty of communication going on between school and home. You've been in your child's class on occasion to help out; you've exchanged emails with the teacher already. The first parent-teacher conference isn't your first get-together, and so you've already established a working relationship. My husband and I like to approach these things much as we would meetings for work. We discuss before hand our objectives and questions. We talk before hand with other stakeholders who won't be there (e.g. the kid himself, babysitter, etc.) If one major objective is to convey that your child is capable of challenging work, and would like to be challenged, you want to bring in evidence to support that. Think a portfolio that represents what you see: stories the child is writing, what books he's reading, the pie charts he draws for fun in his spare time. Particularly if your child doesn't do his or her best on assessments -- because they're boring and cover stuff the kid already knows -- you want to show material that shows your own assessment of the child. Obviously, if you've had the kid independently evaluated -- which ideally the teacher already knows about -- you'd bring that information in too. Then, hopefully, it's a pleasant conversation -- approached as "what can we do to be supporting you" in making sure the child has work that challenges her brain and keeps her engaged. Take good notes; thank the teacher for specific examples of what's happening the class (like your kid being put in a small reading group tackling a higher-level book). I'd love to hear how Gifted Exchange readers have approached parent-teacher conferences, and how they've gone. They've gone well for us, and I know we've been fortunate that way. I'd love to hear how you've navigated them, and I'd love to hear from teachers who read this blog about how they like them to go.