Parent Teacher Conferences
Oct 04, 2017
The first time I went to the Sewalung Diyalo School last November, I was shocked to find that our students didn’t bring food to school. Like most public and private schools, our school did not have the resources to provide a mid-day meal to our students. When the lunch bell rang, the kids jumped up from their seats and ran directly to the playground to start playing games.
It was clear that the children were not used to eating during the school day. This is a big problem because hungry children simply cannot learn and reach their potential. When I talked to the teachers about this, they told me a few new kids brought a tiffin box at the beginning of the year, but these students became embarrassed after a while because they were the only ones who brought food to school. Eventually, they stopped too.
During my studies and work in education and development, I learned about the effectiveness of parent education programs around the world. I heard first-hand accounts of how these programs helped address behavioral issues, increase community participation in schools, and improve communication channels between teachers and parents. So, we decided to design a parent education program for our school and the community it serves.
During my trip, I met with the teachers to organize a parent education program. In my first session with the teachers, we talked about the importance of parents’ involvement in their students’ education and how to increase that involvement. We put forth a plan to hold a series of four parent education meetings, walked through the subjects of those sessions and assigned a teacher to each.
Parents, members of the School Management Committee, and the teachers attended the first parent-education session. During this meeting, we talked about the importance of sending kids to school with lunch. One of the mothers told us she was worried that her son would not wash his hands before eating his lunch. Once they had a chance to talk about the importance of bringing to school, one of the mothers said, “I will make sure to pack some food for my daughter every day and take some time out of my day to spend with her. I think these are both things that we will all do as parents from now on.”
We talked about the importance of positive reinforcement and how to make students feel like they were being heard. One father talked about how his daughter was bullied on her way home from school. The teachers discussed these issues. They also explained that their jobs went beyond classroom teaching. They talked about how they monitored the kids when they were playing and carried drinking water to school when the water supply was broken.
Although not all parents attended the meeting, the participation from the community was very encouraging. The parent education session not only gave the parents and teachers a chance to talk about these important issues, it also gave parents a chance to talk to each other. These sessions helped parents become more comfortable discussing their children’s growth with the teachers.
Given the success of these first sessions, everyone has agreed to continue to hold parent-teacher conferences every few months to discuss their children’s overall development.