Parent Teacher Meeting – Let’s collaborate for success

It was time to give out the report cards and so came the opportunity to meet the parents again. This was the third parent teacher meeting in the academic year. The parents weren’t familiar with the concept of an interaction between the teacher and parents when the first one was organized in June. Earlier the format was such that parents would come and pick up the report cards on a designated day once at the end of the year. Even if they didn’t turn up that day; they could still collect it from the teacher anytime or worse, in some cases, never collect it all.

The designated time was 8:30 AM <last Saturday>. The invitation cards had gone out a week before to parents as always. Notices in school diaries were also in place. But despite all this, hitting a 100% attendance from parents is always a challenge to achieve. So anyway, 42 phone calls, one wild goose chase for a projector and 3 sleepless nights later, I was ready for the meeting. The nights were sleepless because of the charts to be made, report cards to be filled, test papers to be bundled, remarks to be written and attendance averages that had to be tabulated.

This meeting in particular was important because the BIG GOALS of the class were to be messaged  to the parents.TFI has this concept of a necessary big goal for each class. Teachers have to the look at the beginning of the year data at hand and make an estimate of where this class of students will be at the end of the year (EOY). The idea makes sense because it helps the students set a target of what they are expected to achieve by EOY and it defines the quality standards for the teacher as well. I mean, setting a target is great but as a teacher you are expected to work in a certain way to ensure that those targets are achieved. To be honest, my big goals fell into place very late and my first year of teaching wasn’t exactly the best I could’ve done. There were so many things that could have been done better, so many things that I couldn’t even try. But it’s never too late to pick up the loose ends and start making amends.> I was in a fix the night before thinking about my English Big Goal. Was I being too ambitious by declaring to the parents that their kids will put up an English play/musical in front of all parents, teachers and board/Trust authorities? There is very little time left plus the finances need to be arranged for the costumes, sets and other stuff. Over and above all of this, we still have the remaining portions to wrap up, the revision schedule and the TFI EOY exams as well in March. But somewhere I very strongly believe that being on a stage, practising for hours every day to put up something in front of an audience, that sense of involvement and achievement works wonders for kids and their confidence. I want them to open up to that level of confidence and have comfort in communicating with just about anyone. So, this was a necessary risk, it had to be taken.  I informed the parents about the practice schedules and the selection criteria. Regular turning in of homework and a consistently good performance in weekly tests will ensure ample stars on the Homework Champion Chart. At the end of mid-march, these stars will be totalled up and the top twenty kids with maximum stars get to be in the EOY performance. I will of course ensure that the other 16 kids are involved in a host of other committees. <Food&Beverage, Class Showcase, Welcome>

So yeah, that was the major part of our parent teacher meeting. The concept of malleable intelligence seemed to strike a chord with the parents. The idea that I was trying hard to sell was that the harder the kids work, the smarter they get. Hardwork was a non-negotiable item on the list, homework has to come in on time and everyday the text passage has to be read at home. But the highlight of the meeting was something else. :) I mean sure, I slowly explained every point of my agenda while all the 36 of my kids’ parents trickled in.

  • Distribution of Test papers + Report Cards.
  • The journey so far
  • Revised marks calculation system as per State Govt.
  • BIG GOALS – What & Why?
  • How you as parents can help? – Concept of malleable intelligence
  • School in March : How that’ll look
  • The stars in action! – June to Feb :)

They listened intently as I moved from slide to slide and seemed pretty invested but the part that took the cake, the part that lit up their faces was the last section. I’d put up about 50 pictures of the kids starting from June up until now, that covered all kinds of activities that they’d done in class <plays, art workshops, awards, playground activities, team games>. I really wanted them to be a part of this classroom, the one they were sitting in for the meeting….to see how this space comes alive everyday for 5 hours in the morning. :) I’d made a mental note to myself to keenly look at all parents while this slide show played against the backdrop of the kholo kholo darwaazien. I was too taken by what I was viewing to actually pay attention to anyone else. But the minute the lights came on, I saw a room full of smiling parents. Just looking at their kids up there, that made them happy. So yeah, it was a happy ending.

We’ve started out preparations for the EOY showcase in collaboration with the other TFI classes in school (grade 3 and grade 4). What will we be doing? :)….. Watch this space for updates. :)

PS: I’ve given out 3 Maths and 3 English homework assignments since and I’m pleased to see a 100% submission rate. Everyone wants a star up on the homework champion chart. :)

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