Week 24: Student-Led Conferences

This week was filled with so many stories I cannot tell. Not just stories from the conferences, but stories from our half days of instruction. It seems many students had a little extra drama in their lives this week. Maybe it was Valentine’s Day, maybe it was just life.

I met 29 families to share data, classwork, progress. We meet four times in two years. This was our fourth, and last. More than anything, I was struck by the difference between the first conference, and this, the final. Only one parent was upset with me, and even that was fleeting. The rest were supportive, grateful, happy. One year, six months gives time for trust, time for change to be observed. Some parents cried in gratitude. My heart was touched.

So often I don’t feel like I’m doing a good enough job. There are so many things to keep track of, so many needs to meet academically, behaviorally, emotionally. Sometimes students show improvement in one area more than others, maybe just behaviorally, maybe just through calmer emotions. Sure, everyone learns, but often it does not feel like enough. I am hard on myself. I want to see growth across the board. I want all my time and energy to pay off exponentially.

It is hard to sit in front of a family and say I did not fix everything, I am not perfect, I tried my best. Of course, I do not actually say any of that, but it feels so obvious that there is always more to be done. This week I realized most families are grateful for what did change, where their child did grow. The tears and smiles and words of gratitude were my proof. This week wore me out, but it also reminded me that what I do really matters, not just to me, or my students, but to their families as well.

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6 thoughts on “Week 24: Student-Led Conferences

  1. I’m sorry I have been absent of late but I’m here now to remind you that you have chosen to do what many of us cannot and that in and of itself deserves huge props. You do matter and the fact that you care enough to think you didn’t do enough proves that you are doing everything in your power. You are shaping the future! Well Done. πŸ™‚ Peace.

  2. kingmidget says:

    I think most parents want the teachers of their kids to do nothing more than try and put in the best effort they can into educating their kids. Just like parents won’t catch everything and can’t do anything, we don’t, or shouldn’t, expect perfection from teachers. I know what I wanted from my kids’ teachers, particularly in elementary school, was that they care enough to give a little of themselves in teaching. That it wasn’t simply a job to them. Does that make sense? I have absolutely no doubt you’re doing a great job.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Yes, I agree, most parents are understanding and supportive… Most. I’ve run into some very challenging situations that I’d love to write about, but sadly can’t. At least not yet. And, thank you for the kind words. I know I’m doing the best I can, which gets better everyday, there is just so much to do. I wish I could do it all πŸ˜‰

  3. jeffo says:

    Absolutely what you do matters, don’t ever feel that it doesn’t! And I know you’ll always feel responsible for those kids, but remember, a lot of how they perform in the classroom will depend in a large part on how much education is valued at home. Parents need to be active partners in their child’s education; if they show Junior they don’t care, Junior probably won’t care, either.

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