Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Let them Lead!

One of my favorite teaching moments was this year’s student led conferences. I love these conferences, not just because it allows me to knock out all of my conferences in 2 hours, but because of the rare opportunity it gives me to see my kids with their parents. It takes a lot of prep work with the kids, but the payoff in watching them proudly show off their classroom and all they've learned this year is worth it. (Plus, did I mention? 24 conferences in 2 hours!) But, honestly, the kids are the stars, as they should be.

This year, I had nineteen sets of parents that came in for a conference led by their second grader, and the results were amazing. This year I saw.a natural born leader confidently directing his parents directing them through all of the classroom stations easily, with just the right amount of explanation. I saw the energetic excitement of one little boy who literally bounded into the classroom for his conference. This child has been telling me every day for months, "My mom is coming to lunch

today!" and she has yet to show. But she came for the conference, and I thought that child was going to burst with excitement to have his mom in his classroom. I saw my chatty-Cathy leading her mom through an entire presentation, complete with visual aids! The fact that this child was honest and brave enough to give herself a 1 on "I refrain from unnecessary talking" combined with the fact that her mother lovingly accepted (and agreed with) that ranking just made me grin! I saw the quiet discussion in Spanish between one of my little girls and her dad. I have no idea what she was telling him, but the proud smiles on both of their faces assured me it was good. This is a parent I probably never would have met otherwise. I saw the grin on the face of little girl who told me point blank, "My parents have to work--they won't come. They never come to conferences," and when we went over the conference rules said, "My mom will never turn off her cell phone," yet walked in with not one, but both of her parents. And her mom did, indeed, silence her phone and give her daughter her undivided attention. I saw the whispered conversation between my quietest child and her parents. She was so nervous and did not want to do the conference. But she did, and her parents told me later she did a fabulous job and admitted it wasn't so bad :)

My favorite part of the event, however, was the shy smile of a student as I showed her parents the drastic increase in her reading fluency--from 23wpm to 96wpm. This same child had to re-do her conference sheet because she had originally chosen all assignments she'd struggled with and written comments like "I can't do it" and "I'm stupid." With a little encouragement, she instead found assignments to share where she had done well (there were plenty to choose from) and proudly went through her binder with both mom and dad. At the end of the conference I called her parents over, telling them I had something to show them. I pulled up her fluency graph, and showed the amazing progress their daughter had made. The parents both grinned, as they said, “We were so worried, we thought it was going to be bad news. She’s struggled for two years…” This child has worked so hard this year and come so far, it was awesome to see her share that with her parents, and that shy smile on her face made made my year.

No comments:

Post a Comment