One of my favorite times of the year is conference season. We get a short teaching week, the PTA holds a soup dinner for the staff, we all gather in the library (for 8th grade teachers, that is) with a bunch of munchies and work at a large table altogether in between our conferences appointments. It feels like a large family gathering over 24 hours.
The actual conferences are typically positive and productive. Our goal is for the student and family to walk away with an action plan; to feel supported by the school and that they CAN be successful, even if they are not right now. That’s why it’s nice all the subject matter teachers can be there. It’s nice to hear that my students are super stars in social studies even if they are struggling in math.
This year, I had 15 conferences and all but 2 showed up (1 was 45 minutes late, but whatever). I’ve always wondered if we should offer them a snack for being there. But the conference is only supposed to be 20 minutes each. Maybe we don’t want them to linger.
I also made a tutoring appointment on Friday morning with one of my accelerated students. He’s been struggling and we needed to take the time to teach him how to help himself. Thank goodness of online books and resources. How did struggling students learn before streaming videos to re-watch over and over again? Perhaps they didn’t. Perhaps they also had more variety when it comes to areas to be successful in as well.
Even though I like conferences season, I’m glad it’s over. It takes hours and hours to prep, plan, coordinate, and confirm these and I’ve been pulling 12 hour days at school all week. PLUS a bunch of normal planning and grading once I do get home. It’s insane and it’s not sustainable.
But that’s the story of a teacher’s life isn’t it? It doesn’t have to be. More than once, people will ask me, ‘Teachers have to work a lot, don’t they?’ and my reply has always been, ‘Teaching is as much work as you want to make it.’
Apparently, I have a tendency to want to make it. Not always a good thing. But it pays off when parents are crying tears of gratitude, and when students feel like they are being seen and heard.