Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Inside Four Walls: Best parent conference ever!

So I mentioned earlier about my favorite parent conference of all time, so here's the story. It was like my 3rd year of teaching, so I was still learning. We were on factoring and I told my class that if you couldn't factor that you would fail the class. One student told me that I wasn't allowed to talk like that. I asked why and the student told me I needed to be positive and encouraging to students. I said that if you can't factor you would fail 4 chapters, too many to overcome. I told them they needed to bring their best so they could master factoring. The student said I was mean and that they were going to talk to their counselor. I said fine.

So long story somewhat shorter, we have the meeting with the parents (dad was a detective at the local PD) and the counselor. The student tells the story again and the mom chimes in about how teachers need to be supportive and encouraging to students and not tell them they can fail. The counselor took their side too, which I quickly realized is a common thing. When the counselor asked me what my side was I said that what the student said was true. That factoring was necessary for solving quadratics, rational expressions, and for finding roots of parabolas. And that if a student couldn't factor they would fail the class. I told them that I tell students this so they know they need to be focused.

At that point, everyone kind of looked at the dad. When he opened is mouth it was the greatest thing I had ever heard before, or since.
I'm sorry for wasting your time Mr. Wendland. I don't think there is anything wrong with what you said. In fact, it's kind of refreshing to see someone that is honest about what is needed to be successful. At least the kids know what they need to do to pass now.
Ahhhh so good. The look on the student's, mom's, and counselor's faces was priceless. The student tried to talk, but the dad stopped them mid-sentence. The dad stood up shook my hand and I left. That was without a doubt my best parent conference ever.


Pissed Off said...

I've been fortunae to have tons of parents like that. Most appreciate the honesty.

Mr. W said...

Hopefully I have more like those. I think what shocked me is that he didn't know the story going into it? Maybe he wanted to prove a point? I don't know, but if you had a ton of these, maybe I will be lucky to have another one.