On March 15-16 at Elm Street School in Mechanic Falls, their first ever student led “Parent and Teacher Conferences” were held after school. There were many mixed feelings about these conferences among the students and teachers. I’ve asked students from different grades how they felt about their upcoming conferences with their teachers and parents. The younger ones I’ve asked through kindergarten and third grade basically responded in the following words, “I am very nervous. J don’t want to speak in front of my teacher and my mom and/or dad.” When I was in the kindergarten through third grade wing on both conference nights, as kids walked out of classrooms, it looked like they had a pretty good conference. With the older kids, mainly sixth, seventh, and eighth, there were a variety of different responses. In the sixth grade, I heard answers like “I hope I have a good report card,” or “I’m nervous and just want to get this over with,” I went to the fourth through sixth grade wing too on both conference nights and it was pretty mellow there.

Nobody looked discouraged walking out of the conference rooms. The seventh graders were pretty similar to the sixth graders responses. For the eighth graders, they were a little nervous about the chances of getting grounded by their parents over a bad report car. Most of the eighth grade teachers thought it was a great opportunity to talk to the parents and students together. It went pretty smooth for the eighth grade conferences. After the conferences, on the next day of school, nobody mentioned anything about the conferences in class. There was some gossip about it in between classes and on the bus though. They seemed to like comparing each other’s grades.

I’ve even interviewed some parents. They all thought that it was a good idea. What better way to show your kids that you want them to take your grades seriously by having them talk to you and the teacher at the same time to identify your strengths and weaknesses than to have just the teachers and parents talk.

The responses that I’ve received from the teachers were somewhere similar. They said that the child should be required to show up with the parents so that they can get the child’s perspective on what he or she thinks their weaknesses are. The teachers even talked to the students and parents about the kids’ strengths and weaknesses in non-academic things, such as sports. What the teachers did a few days before the conference nights was have the students fill out a worksheet telling what they thought their strengths and weaknesses, non-academic and academically was and what they could do to improve their weaknesses. I thought that the Student led conferences were a good idea, myself.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.