The View of the Parent

It's all about connections.

Photo of Stan Hickory
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After interviewing ten parents, I found a number of consistencies. One: Parents want the teacher to know that they care about their son or daughter which is done by coming to conferences. Two: Parents want to be able to put a face with the name. Three: Parents want to share personal stories to give teachers insight to their son or daughter. On the flip-side, Teachers felt...One: The parents of the students who I really need to see never come. Two: It is time consuming to meet with the parents of the kids who are doing a great job (don't really need the conference). Three: Conferences are exhausting! 

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe something you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research.

What is the number one propose of conferences? It is to get to know people or create a plan for students who are struggling?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Clint Heitz

Stan! My idea, Guideposts to Success , is currently in the selection process, and it completely hits on points two and three that you gleaned from your parent interviews while also holding great potential to support the concerns of the teachers you've talked to. If you would be willing, I'd greatly appreciate your support by signing in and positively evaluating Guideposts to Success . In addition, I'd be thrilled if you would add more ideas and suggestions, too. Thanks! 

Photo of Donna Teuber

Hi Stan, Great insight about needing to know your purpose. I love that you interviewed parents!

Photo of Stan Hickory

Hello Donna. This is something I have been struggling with for years now. I number of years ago I worked at a middle school and we played around with doing conferences in teams (how many times do we say the same thing about a student that every other teacher is going to say).  One idea I have had would be to separate conferences into two groups. One group (maybe one night) would be a, "Hey, let's all hang out, drink some coffee, have a danish and talk about mu class. Kind of like a cocktail party. During this time parents can come over and meet you. Tell a few stories about their kids. They get to know your face and you get to know their face. Then, a different night where you invite (or parents could request a time) parents to come at a specific time. This is for kids who are having trouble. This is when you, the parents, and the kids could sit down and create a plan for success. Other teachers could be invited if there is an issue in more than one class. As noted above, I think it is really important for the kid to be a part of the conversation. In fact, I usually talk to the kids before the conferences and give them some talking points and have them lead the conference. Anyway, lots of ideas here. Sorry this is so long. 

Photo of Donna Teuber

Hi Stan, Your interviews have given you  great information for coming up with ideas to reimagine the parent-teacher conference! Check out the other discoveries for insights that can help you build on your ideas.  The Ideation phase starts in less than two weeks. You'll be able to post your ideas (which I love), add team members and build on the ideas. I look forward to collaborating and seeing what develops. Reach out if you have questions.

Photo of Stan Hickory

Yep, got ahead of myself.

Photo of Molly McMahon

 oh yeah -- pro tip. Add an image to your post. We have learned it leads to more conversation and bring people in to find out more about your insights. 

Photo of Molly McMahon

Stan -- #love.  You already interviewed and synthesized the insights from 10 parents. Ahhhmmazing!  And totally get that conferences are exhausting. I think it's interesting to think about why parents want to tell the stories of their students and how that drives connection.  Chcck out Ryan Smith  post for an awesome interview -- Interview with a high school teacher.  

Thanks for jumping in! 

Photo of Brett Brownell

Hey Stan! Looks like your contribution hasn't been published yet. We'd love to make sure the community learns about your insights from parents, so if you're don't drafting press the blue "Publish" button at the top of the post. Also, add a photo to your post and your profile if you can. Visuals help the community understand and learn more. Thanks!