Time to meet the teachers

by Reedz on January 24, 2009

Some food for thought about parent-teacher meetings:

A parent-teacher meeting is a once per term, short meeting between students’ parents and teachers. The interview is a chance for parents to meet their child’s teachers and review any issues or concerns the parents or teachers may have with child/student’s performance. These interviews are usually between five to fifteen minutes long. Parent-teacher interviews are a tradition in Western school systems.

Unfortunately, the tradition is typically that the parents of the privileged children come — those parents who already know their children best. This is a fact confirmed by one of my teacher friends at one of the less privileged areas where the attendance rate for parent-teacher meetings are a mere handful. Even when they asked the village head for help in encouraging parents to come forward, they were met with a resigned, “Andang cematu udah tu org di kampung ani…”

Teachers seldom get to meet the caregivers of the children who they puzzle over, the ones that they would love to help more and the ones for whom some insight into their lives might be helpful in determining how to meet their needs.

Although there are some effective alternatives happening in many places, the traditional interview routine has the teacher sitting at a desk and reporting to the parent/caregiver about what the child has done or not done, effectively or unsatisfactorily. The parents listen. A few questions and responses might be exchanged before the interview ends and the next parent enters and the routine repeats. There seems to be little expectation — and hence hope — that the parent-teacher interview will make a difference for the child, for the parent and for the teacher.  — adapted from canadianliving.com

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