best/ worst parents evenings(24 Posts)
In short, I'm a recently qualified teacher, working in a preschool until permanent post in September.
My first parents evening is looming, learning journeys are done, as are summary reports.
I just want to be prepared as possible, so thought this would be a good place to start. Lend me your thoughts...
What are the best/ worst examples you've been to (given the time alloted is 15mins), and anything you like to see/hear? Hate to see/hear?
Not just early years, but across the range, as I will be placed in an (as yet undecided) KS2 year in my new post and will obv be doing more. Thanks in advance
First parents evening with child in reception- got a 20 minute tirade from the teacher on how awful my child was with not one single positive comment. Appointment slot was 10 minutes.
Child now year 8, I still have to take Valium before each parents evening as it has caused me a huge amount of stress (I suffer from anxiety).
There is something positive that can be said about every child, particularly a four year old! Use a feedback sandwich- positive negative positive- if you have something difficult to say!
NB: Yes, there is supposed to be a capital letter, sorry!
Try to make it concise but informative. Perhaps prepare a report card with the child's levels/ progress, a strength, an area for improvement, punctuality and attendance figures, spelling test scores for older children, friendship groups etc. Have it all to hand in case you're asked anything specific. Then leave a few minutes at the end in case there are any other concerns or questions. Good luck.
Worst being told my DD didn't seem to want to push herself as she wasn't achieving near what she had previously or what her CATS suggested she was capable of. No analysis had been done, DD had not been talked to. After I pushed back really hard and demanded a meeting with the SMT some analysis was done unsurprisingly we discover she is a very bright dyslexic who had reached the end of her coping mechanisms. If you need to deliver bad news make sure you have all the data. I had informed the school on multiple occasions that I am a very bright dyslexic in a family where it appears to run through the female line. But the teacher concern refused to consider this a possibility as her CAT scores were too high for it to be that.
Hi, when I was teaching I would make sure the children's workbooks were available to show parents the progress made in writing, etc. Something that a parent can actually see helped.
My very first parents eve I made little prompt cards for each child. Nothing too detailed (and nothing you wouldn't say out loud) just maybe an =+ or - for attainment in relation to average (delivered sensitively of course), a note of their reading level, number of HFW read/spelled if you keep track of this, then areas that I felt could be helped at home if parents were willing eg number bonds, times tables, extra reading, spelling games etc.
Oh, and always ask for any question at the beginning. Not when you've already finished your 15 minute speil
I am a teacher, always start by asking the parents if they have anything specific they want to ask you so you can deal with their queries early on.
Make sure you know which child you are talking about - list of problem behaviour that you don't understand (because they are not your child) is not helpful!!!
I guess the most memorable one was a teacher complaining about my ds not completing his homework. We were rather bemused by this as he had always completed all his homework before. After a discussion we established that the homework was being given on one of the regular afternoons that he was absent because of their illegal exclusions. That was one red faced teacher.
Never had the luxury of 15min slots - you won't once you are in school - but my first HT said you must always start with something friendly / welcoming and preferably complimentary about the child, was trying to ensure it is personal to the child. A lot of parents are quite anxious about coming in to parents evening and they revert to feeling like a pupil again - it is part of your job to put them at their ease.
Then you have to be honest. Yes, remember the dc is their beloved child, but you are doing no-one any favours if you are not honest.
Try to avoid jargon, or, where it sneaks in, explain what you are talking about - only people who work in EYs know what the EYFS is
Not so much in EYs, but once in school, always have a think about what the 'next steps' are, or have ready some possible solutions to issues you raise.
Leave time to listen to what the parents want to tell or ask you - a lot won't want to say anything, but some will.
Always try to finish with something positive as well.
Thanks for all suggestions, will be making those prompt cards!
The worse one which we have had was when my child was in reception. I could not attend as I was away urgently. The teacher announced to my DH that my son had autism but could not discuss it then as there was not enough time......
[NB -it was clarified that our son did not have autism by those qualified to diagnose such a condition - but in the interim there were many sleepless nights]. That particular teacher only approached things in a very negative way and could not stand in the shoes of others when discussing any issue.
As a teacher- listening properly to parents concerns about the possibility that their child had SN.
Worst- the lady who had the final appointment,it overran by 30 mins and involved a discussion of her partners vasectomy.
I liked the slightly drunk dad who showed up and just kept telling me how much his child liked me. Don't think he really listened to any info about his child's progress though!
As a parent of a child with sn, do not present me with a list of negative behaviour from my child. I'm not there and can't do anything about it. If they are behaviours which are caused by the SN then looking sad across the table while reeling off a list will not be welcome.
Equally if a child is blindingly rude and NT then tell his parents,EVEN if they are governors and the HT is having kittens because you are only allowed to say NICE things about them!
The last parents evening we went to the teacher proceeded to talk very fluently about somebody else's
very naughty child. He was rather embarrassed when he realised, especially as my DC was sat next to me. Thank fuck it was only RE.
I have 2 quiet, compliant dds. The infant school they went to didn't seem to actually know who they were and parents evening was completely useless. My advice is to make sure you say at least one personal thing about each child!!
Best thing in KS1 was teacher had set up a powerpoint, for the waiting parents, to run on a loop showing lots of photos of all the children doing activities. Just gave an impression that all the DC were having a generally nice time.
Don't compare an August child with another child in his year who happens to be a September child, including bringing out said child's exercise book to compare handwriting skills. Still fuming and it was ten years ago.
If you're going to bring up something negative, then you also need to have strategies in place for how you are dealing with it. Telling a parent that their child is disruptive in class, or can't stay on task, or any on the myriad of other things that can go wrong, is no use to the parent. They need to know what you are doing about the problem at school, and how they can help at home.
Our y1 teacher also asked our DD questions about what she thought her progress was.
For a lot of parents the child's social as well as academic progress is important so maybe think about that.
Lastly, my own mother used the parent teacher meeting as a free kicking session, so try to be aware of parents who are focussing on the negative-or even trying to create the negative where it doesn't exist.
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