Last Thursday I was a learner. Well, I hope that on most days I am learning, but specifically on Thursday I was learning–from the families in my class. In the fall, instead of having our first set of conferences at the end of first quarter (to talk about the report card and student progress), we get together shortly after school starts for intake conferences. The goal of these conversations is to get to know the families in our classrooms better, and to begin to set goals together for the students we share.
I LOVE these conversations, especially since I’ve had a little bit of time to get to know my students, as they give me so much more insight into what makes each kiddo “tick.” As their parents describe them as kids and as learners, I listen to see if the child they are telling me about is the kiddo I see every day at school–you know, sometimes kids have their “school” selves and their “home” selves. It’s great to hear about both sides. That, after all, gives me the best picture of each kiddo, and helps me to know how best to meet their needs while I have them.
In order to give the parents a framework for the conversation, they are asked to prepare answers to these questions before they come to their child’s conference:
We sit together for 20 minutes and chat about the answers. It’s a great time to connect positively, face-to-face with parents–who are, after all, the people who know their child the best, and are their first and best teacher! My hope is that from these beginning conversations, we begin to build the foundation for our work together throughout the year, and form a bond with one goal in mind: helping each student reach their full potential.
I have a few more conferences to finish up on Tuesday, and I’m really excited! If you were here Thursday–thanks SO much for you time, and if you’re on my list for Tuesday–can’t wait to see you!
And as a side note: I have to sit on the other side of the table for the first time in my kindergartener’s first intake conference this week! And I’m honestly really nervous. I hope I can answer those questions for Riley. What great insight this next step gives me as I work with my own families in my class. 🙂
So now it’s your turn. Comment and tell us what you think. Do you do intake conferences? As a parent, what do you see as the benefits of these intake conferences? What do you think we as a school can do to improve them? Thanks for your thoughts!