My conferences at the middle school were much different than at the high school. At Forest City Middle School, conferences are two days, 3-7pm, and parents and teachers work together to create a schedule that fits everyone’s needs (and works around sibling conferences).
For the middle school conferences, teachers take a chunk of students (we had ten) and we conference with parents about each of their courses, rather than just our specific class.
Since I had started my placement in the middle of the year, I had less of a head role in these conferences than I had at the high school. I will still very excited to be a part of all of them, chiming in with information, ideas, notes, and positives about each of my cooperating teacher’s ten students.
One of my favorite parts of the conferences is when my cooperating teacher asked each student,
“What is one thing you are proud of? And one thing you want to work on for next trimester?”
I thought this was very valuable because it was asking students to take ownership of their learning. It was also awesome to see students explaining their assignments and assessments to parents, going through their ‘redos’ and showing their parents how they might not have understood aspects of the curriculum at first, but then redid an assessment and now get it.
One of the most challenging aspects of conferences was explaining Standards-Based Grading. Mrs. Sopko (my cooperating teacher) and I went through the grades step by step to help parents understand and to answer any questions parents (and even students!) might have.
Overall, though my role wasn’t as big in these conferences as it had been in the high school, I’m glad I was a part of them. I met parents and I feel that I have a deeper connection with students, seeing them outside of the classroom.