Today I sat through 27 appointments for Year 10 parents’ evening. I am super proud that 21 were my PP/FSM students! I personally, called every single student in my two Year 10 classes (A total of 46 students should have come along.) I reminded them all of the parents evening. I also made myself available from 2.15pm-7.45pm for appointments.
Is it about time we call these evenings carers’ evening instead? As there are many students in my school that are looked after, in foster care and/or adopted whose parents won’t attend, but their carers will.
In this short blog I would like to share some of the main messages that I share with my students and the structure in which I approach this evening.
Welcome your visitors, say hello, shake everybody’s hand, including your student and their sibling(s).
You should always have a name badge/staff ID badge on. A name tag/sign on your table is always useful too. I am not too sure whether you need to dress any ‘extra’ than you normally do. I am not sure what message that sends to the students.
- Bring students book with you. (Expecting excellence pieces of work!)
- Attendance figures for YOUR lesson.
- We use SIMS, therefore, I always record comments on there. So run a report to pull out all these comments. How many times has a book been forgotten and homework not been completed/on time.
- I take my IPAD too. (I load up the class blog for parents to view. It also doubles up as a distraction for young, agitated siblings!)
Introduce yourself, firstly with your first name and then your school name. Thank them for coming in!
Hi, nice to meet you. My name is Amjad Ali.
Mr Ali. It is wonderful to meet you and thank you so much for coming in!
Let them know what subject it is that you teach. Many students bring their family to you without really filling them in about you and your role. (I always mention my role, i.e SENCO/Director of Inclusion/Assistant Head Teacher.)
Show interest in the whole student, ask them how their other appointments have been going, ask their parents/carers how they are feeling? Asking the names of their siblings is important too. Getting to know your students is vital!
Ask the student the following questions:
- How effectively do you learn in our lesson
- What do you well?
- How hard to do you work?
- How much work do you put in outside of school?
- What can you do better?
As a precursor to this evening, I used @fkritson’s idea- Parent Feedback. Which prepares me to gather an insight into the carers views on their child’s current work ethic and attainment.
Be aware of your student. Do not mention their poor handwriting, if they are dyspraxic for example. Or poor spelling if they are dyslexic. Know what their needs may be!
The following phrases are ones that I use with all my students…
Are you a professional student?
I explain the notion of professionalism and ask students to reflect on whether their behaviours are professional?
Are you selfish with your learning?
I ask students to consider whether they are doing all they can to take as much from their schooling as possible. I ask them to consider whether they are benefiting from all that is on offer from school?
You will gain as much as you put in!
I explore the concept of working hard and remind students that you can read, see and hear. That means, if you try, persevere and push yourself then you have every chance of success as anybody else.
I can give you 50%, I need 50% from you.
I explore the idea that coming to school, listening in lesson, completing classwork and homework is only 50% of what is expected. I talk about how those elements are regulated/controlled/facilitated by me. The remaining 50% needs to come from additional, extra, supporting, supplementary work from them. I.E our class blog- http://www.cheneyre.edublogs.org
I will challenge you.
I always make a point of super quiet students being ‘ignored’ in lessons. I let the students/parents/carers know that I will be challenging them to answer more questions. I also state, that instead of asking again and again for them to speak more, I will just simply talk more to them! Do not over promise what you can not deliver!
________ is a testament to your upbringing/down to you
Being positive and use of honest flattery is important in establishing a good, trusting relationship between you and the parent/carer.
If a student is rude or moans, or sighs at their parents. I always interject. I make a point of saying, that parents/carers are wanting the best for their son/daughter and they should treat them with the same care, attention and respect that they show me.
Know who else can support. If a student’s parent wants to know about exam access for example. Or they are struggling with motivation, who is their college/year leader!
Have a pen and paper to write notes and use the opportunity to gather parents/carers mobile numbers and email addresses!
Stick to your times, do not keep parents waiting and sit opposite/near a clock so it does not look like you are continually checking the time!
If you have a particularly challenging student, do a round robin to all his other teachers so you guys don’t contradict one another!
Always lots of ‘teacher chat’. Do not use exam specific terminology and exam specific phrasing!
Always follow up and discussions and promises/ideas that you have had within a week. Show the parents you mean business!
What made me chuckle today was when a parent told me…
You ever thought about becoming a motivational speaker? Because, today you have made me want to go back to school and try much, much harder than I did!