October 14, 2016
Last night was Parent-Teacher Conferences. We did a new system, where instead of all the parents coming at once, they made appointments via PTCFast.com. The school set us up an account, and we could schedule breaks. Theoretically, it sounded like a great idea. Until we got off schedule. Part of my problem was that I didn’t set a timer. It sounds dumb, but 5 minutes is less than you think when you get going.
Anyways, there were only a couple of students who attended with their parents. One of them was a Spanish 2 student of mine. I started off the conference by asking for his feedback about the class. He expressed to me some concerns about the quickness of the pacing and how he felt overwhelmed. His mom commented how I was one of the only teachers to actually ask him what he thought. (Seriously? How can that even be? Anyways…) He told me that he didn’t have enough processing time between introduction of grammar concepts and that with the introduction of the Dream House project (see my post from July 30 about this new version of a project I do with my 2s here), he felt very overwhelmed and stressed. When I explained to him that the Dream House project was a two-chapter project, he seemed a bit relieved.
There was one other parent of a 2 that expressed that her daughter had concerns about the class as well. She was worried that I make it seem like they didn’t learn anything last year (which could honestly be part of my presentation, but also the realization that the teacher they had last year and I have very different teaching and classroom management styles). Her daughter is currently doing well in my class, but nevertheless, I told the mom that I’d talk to her daughter to make sure she isn’t feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.
I think that overall conferences went well. I feel like the students are overall responding positively to this new style of teaching. The one thing that I worry about is that this new method of teaching doesn’t hinder my students’ proficiency in the material. In the past, the high school teachers have commented about how knowledgeable my students are coming into their classes. I just hope that this new method doesn’t prevent them from being as proficient as in years past. I realize that each group of students is different, but in the end, I just want to do what is best for the kids, and not do something new just for the sake of being different.