Parent/Teacher Conferences: Leveraging the Parent/Teacher Relationship

Heidi Chapple, Head of Lower School
How teachers forging a strong relationship with your whole family helps your child learn.
Any parent with more than one child knows that each one is an individual with his or her own talents, passions, motivations, and interests. At Rashi, we take the time to know and understand each child and to ensure that all students are fully engaged in learning, passionate about their work, and challenged to their potential.

During fourth block on a Thursday morning, the Kindergarten class is buzzing with activity. Seated in groups of no more than 4, students are actively exploring “What is a numeral?” As they rotate through the stations-- number line counting, domino numeral identification, cubes matching numbers, equations sums -- there is a teacher at each table who is questioning, prompting, and scaffolding learning. Each day, educators forge relationships with students: a process that is imperative to the outcome of our curricular goals. Sitting at the table alongside our students, they are forming an informal assessment of where students are.  Asking probing questions like  “How do you know, How did you show it?, Can you explain your math thinking?” The answers to these questions are data points that not only help our students engage at a deeper intellectual level, they enable you as parents to feel confident that your child's teacher knows them as the complex learner they are.

In the next few weeks, we will be having Parent/Teacher Conferences where you will be hearing about how your child/children are doing at school. The teachers have worked diligently to build these relationships in their classrooms. But, as important as the teacher/student relationship is, we want you to know how important we believe communication between teachers and you, our families, is and its importance for your child’s success. Not surprisingly, research shows that the more teachers and parents share relevant information with each other, children are better equipped to be successful.

Parent/teacher conferences are a critical time for you to learn - about your child, and about your child’s teacher. During parent/teacher conferences, our goal is twofold: to provide an opportunity to forge a relationship with your child’s teacher, and to assure you that your child’s teacher knows and understands your child. As we know, children require differentiated strategies for learning and achieving their goals. While some students in a classroom may grasp and learn a concept quickly, there may be those who learn best using different techniques and modes of instruction in order for them to fully engage with the lesson. Your conference will provide you a shared understanding of what teaching strategies support your child’s intellectual engagement.

Looking for more? We love this article from Today's blog about what to do before, during, and after your conference.

We asked teachers what they hoped parents would ask them during conferences. Here's what they said:

  • What can we (the parents) do to help with work at home?
  • What does my child do if s/he sees someone sitting alone at lunch or playing alone at recess?
  • What does my child do if s/he sees trash on the classroom floor?

Did you know? There are over 700 conferences scheduled for this year's Parent/Teacher Conferences. Between our 34 lead teachers and specialists over 10.5 hours, that's a lot of knowledge to share!