Saturday, October 10, 2009

Imaginary Parent / Teacher Conference, at the Secondary Level

Thank you for coming today. Your presence here shows me just how much you love your child and care about them and their education.

Please be aware that I am a teacher. My job is to educate my students. I am told what I must teach by the nation/state/district, and I must cover that information to the best of my ability between August and June. I will do everything in my power, including but not limited to singing, dancing, talking in funny voices, bending over backward, and jumping through flaming hoops, to help my students learn the information I have to teach them. I will plan and present the most engaging lessons I can muster. I will lay before my students every single tool that I know of to help them learn. I will answer any question they ask to the best of my ability.

Please be aware that I do not have a magic wand. I cannot wave my magic teacher stick and turn each child I encounter, instantly, into a straight A student. I do not give grades. I evaluate work that students turn in to me, and I record the scores they earn through the effort they put forth.

Please be aware that, while I can lay everything your child needs to be successful in front of them, they must pick up the tools I provide and use them. I wish nothing more than for every child that walks through my classroom door to be successful. But I cannot make that happen. I can provide every opportunity and help in any and every way I can. And I will, every day. But each child, each student, must decide that it is important to them to learn, to succeed, to do the best they can. Each child must decide to work hard and do the best they can do, each and every day. Even when it's hard. And, although I wish I could, I cannot make that happen.

Neither can you. You can support the school staff. You can make your child's education the top priority (even over any sports or extracurricular activities they may be involved in). You can spend time with them. You can let them know that their best effort is what you expect in everything they do. You can help them with the tasks before them. (But please do not do those tasks for them - whatever they happens to be - because how can a child learn to be responsible if they are not given, and held to, responsibility?)

This child, your child, my student, must decide that it is important to them to learn, to succeed, to do the best they can, for themselves.

We can, and will, support, guide, assist, praise good choices, provide consequences for poor choices, and let each child know that their personal best is what we expect from them, and that for them to be healthy, happy, and safe is what we want for them.

And when this precious child chooses to give their personal best (whether that translates to the letter A or the letter C), they will be successful not only in school, but in the life for which school is preparing them.

So, I do thank you for coming in today. I hope we can all work together and support each other as we guide and encourage this child. Because if we can let this child know that they are loved, supported, cared for and respected, they will be much more likely to pick up and use these tools of education we set before them.


Bacardi Mama said...

Bravo! Proof that my money to Purdue was well spent. Love you!!

Anonymous said...

So much truth to your words.

mommy boo of two said...

Well said :)

Stillmary said...

I love this. It's truly a teacher's perspective that we may not always see. We know it. But we don't think about it. I might borrow a couple of paragraphs to send to a child I know. I hope that's okay. What a great post!

InTheFastLane said...

LOVE IT!! It should be sent to all the parents :)

Lyndsay said...

You rock!

Erin said...

As a middle school teacher, LOVE THIS.