Monday, March 16, 2015

Parent Conversations: Putting the Responsibility Back on the Student

Full Moon. End of the Quarter. A New Trend. I am not sure what it is, but lately, I have had some interesting parent conversations. 75% of parents who initiate the calls have to do with student grades. I love when parents are highly involved with their child's education. I think that the student, parent, and teacher are needed for success in the classroom. However, I also believe at the middle school level that students need to take ownership of their learning and grades, which should be supported at home. Many times, (we'll use Billy) Billy's mom calls in and is furious about Billy's grade or an assignment. In all of my instances, Billy has never brought homework home or asked how he could work on his grade in class.  After some reflection, I decided it is time to put the responsibility for Billy's learning on Billy when these phone conversations arise again. I have nothing to hide. For golly gee, I have a master's degree in curriculum and I spend countless hours after school designing lessons and gradings. I am not sure why I always am expected to feel that I was the one slacking for Billy's grade. So here are some questions that I would have and will ask parents in the future:
1. So we are not repetitive, could you explain to me your perspective of the situation so we have a place to start from?
2. What does homework look like for Billy at home?
3. If Billy has no homework, is he using any time to study for upcoming quizzes/tests?
4. What does Billy's agenda look like everyday?

These questions are solely meant to put the responsibility back on Billy. Billy should be the first person to question for Billy's grades not his teacher.