After 25 years of teaching, I'm amazed at how much things truly haven't changed. Parent teacher conferences are still about what is in the best interest of the student. They still are a long night with little food or opportunities to go to the bathroom. They still are a chance to see parents face-to-face and reconnect. I love the social interaction that I have with parents on PT nights. Since I'm privileged (and I truly believe it is a blessing) to have all the kids in the high school for all four years, I get the opportunity to see kids grow and develop as "children" to young adults. To talk to the same parent for four years, the conversations do change from how to help them with their reading comprehension to are they (or will they) be ready for college next fall. What an amazing opportunity I have to share those things.
Ironically though, a lot of parents simply don't attend Parent/Teacher Conferences at the high school level. Parents may think, well, my son or daughter is in high school, what could we possibly talk about. If they would have attended this past week, you would have found out that in our freshmen classes we focus on being organized and putting our best foot forward. They might have learned that the notebook grade is about their work ethic and attention to detail - a portfolio if you will, of their commitment to English. In government, parents might have discovered we're actively working on current events and an on-line forum to discuss them. In American Literature, the importance of the novel project and the skills I hope students get out of it. In English 10 we might have discussed the power of communication, and how I do understand that speeches are hard and scary, but together we'll get through them.
Every student that walks through my door (and any teacher's door for that matter) is cherished. They are beautifully and wonderfully created learners, and I hope to help them find their path as they journey through high school. I just wanted the opportunity to share that with all the parents of all the students I have the inestimable privilege of teaching. Hopefully more will come to the spring conferences. Happy Halloween everyone!