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Parent-Teacher Conferences: Excited or Stressed?

My parent-teacher conference is this week. Every few months, I count down the days to this conference with a mix of excitement and anxiety.  For 15 minutes I get to talk about my favorite subject: my kids.  And not with my husband or mother, who it’s safe to say, are not exactly objective.

My kids’ teachers, on the other hand, are third party professionals. They spend as much, if not more, time with my children as I do on any given weekday.  They have a frame of reference for comparison, and they see my kids' strengths and weaknesses in a way that it’s hard for me to.

The parent-teacher conference is a delicate dance.  Teachers are expected to be honest but encouraging.  My kids are both poor spellers, this I know.  So I was glad when one teacher said plainly, “Your son’s an imaginative writer, but a terrible speller.”

I try hard to listen to constructive feedback and not to be defensive.  While the conference might sometimes feel like an evaluation of my parenting skills,  I know it is really about my kids as students.

As a parent of elementary school children, I end up asking a lot of questions about the social/emotional well-being of my kids.  Who do they play with?  Do they get along with other kids?  Are they kind?

I also look for signs that teachers understand my children. Not like I do, of course.  But a little something that indicates that they know how to motivate them.  Do they get that my daughter has a great sense of humor and my son likes a little competition?

Have you had your parent-teacher conference yet this year?  Do you dread it or look forward to it? What do you look for in a parent-teacher conference?

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