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First Parents evening

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Cosmic_Rainbow, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Cosmic_Rainbow

    Cosmic_Rainbow New commenter

    I am currently on my PGCE and have my first parents evening coming up. I have no idea what im goin to say to half of these parents. Any advice?
  2. Cosmic_Rainbow

    Cosmic_Rainbow New commenter

    I am currently on my PGCE and have my first parents evening coming up. I have no idea what im goin to say to half of these parents. Any advice?
  3. bigpedro

    bigpedro New commenter

    Surely you'll be supervised by an experienced member of staff who should step-in if you get stuck.
    If you want to avoid awkward situations, stick to nice things. (parents won't take you on if you give them positives)
    If you're going to say bad things, make sure you can back it up! Don't worry though, the first 10 or so are the most scary.
  4. Make yourself a little table of the names of the pupils and then a column for behavior, effort, homework and a target then put a comment in each on the night you can just run across say something on each then shake hands and say bye.
    It helps calm your nerves as well as you know you're prepared.
    Also if you not very good at names to faces you can either put a picture off SIMs in there or a comment like sits in middle by pillar to help you remember.
    I started this on my PGCE and still do it now because it means I cant waffle and when you teach 4 year 9 classes it helps you keep track.
  5. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Occasional commenter

    As a general rule parents want to know four things at a parent's evening.
    1. Is their child behaving?
    2. Is their child working well?
    3. How is their child achieving?
    4. How could their child improve?
    As long as you cover these points the evening should go well. The biggest pitfall is to complain about ongoing behaviour / work issues when you have not put in any strategies to get around them e.g. detentions.
    I always start by asking the student (at my school pupils are encouraged to attend parent's evenings) how they think they are doing. It is rare that a pupil will lie at this point; more often they will try and neutralise the question (alright, okay, not too bad). If you share the class you can use the opener "So, Mr Bloggs also teaches you, What do you think he asked me to say to your parents tonight?"
    If the child is there I tend to spend most of the time talking to them about how they are doing as, ultimately, they are the ones that may need to change.
    Finally, make sure that you praise students where it is due!

  6. I'm also on my PGCE course and have done two, both with the main class teacher.
    It's a good opportunity to get the kids (if they're there) to share ideas: we had two ask for extra work to boost their grade, which they would never have done in front of their peers!
    My mentor, when stuck, would lead with, "first of all, are there ny queries you have about your child's work in (subject)?" Worked a charm! As ScienceGuy mentions, also good to ask the student- involve them in setting targets. And you might find out areas they've been struggling with but haven't spoken up about.
    Don't assume the parents know what you're doing in class- a lot of kids don't really talk about school all that much!
    I also wound up finding out a lot about my students' interests within the subject but beyond the SoWs- books they like to read, who likes what kind of writing, etc, which meant I could really engage my students with things they enjoyed in class, especially when studying something tricky!
    Ask your class teacher for some pointers about those students you're not sure about as well.
  7. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Youonly usually have 5 minutes per child so be brief. Tell them what you want to tell them firmly and clearly. Have some evidence if required such as a printoff of you markbook etc. Once you have got all that off your chest then they may have a chance to speak. You will find most just say thankyou and go away.

    Another thing I do is stand when the parents approach and shake hands with them. I also stand when they leave (ready for the next family) and shake hands again. It looks a bit of a faff but I find it puts the meeting on a professional footing right from the start.
  8. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    I never start by talking about the child myself. I always start by asking if there was anything in particular that they wanted to talk about. There is no point in you rabbiting on for 4.5min and then finding out that the parents wanted to talk about something else entirely.
    Parents evenings in state schools normally follow a report going home, so parents don't need to be told more of the same.
    Works for me anyway!
  9. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Not inmy school they don't. We had yr 7 parents eve before Christmas and year 10 is this week. No reports home yet!
  10. ferrisbueller

    ferrisbueller New commenter

    I always start my Five minutes by asking the pupil
    "How do you think you are getting on in this subject?"
    9/10 the child says exactly what you are thinking.
    I would also say, as a parent and a teacher, I think it is important to find something positive to say about the child to the parent, no matter how 'orrible they may be. I do this not for the child, but for the long suffering parents who have to live with the little twerps for longer than I teach them!!!!
    Good luck [​IMG]
  11. ferrisbueller

    ferrisbueller New commenter

    I've just read your post ScienceGuy - great minds think alike [​IMG]

  12. I was scared before my first parent teacher night. Write down some ideas before you meet with the parent and talk to your mentor for both ideas and feedback on what you have written.
    What you will write or say to their parents depends on both the individual student and the time allowed. You might mention the following:
    <ol>[*]Behaviour[*]Strengths: Most parents enjoy hearing nice things about their students and this may, soften the blow for harsher comments. [*]Areas for concern: write down the concern AND possible methods to solve the problem[*]How the parent can help at home: can the parent monitor homework? Is there a need for regular contact with parents? </ol>Be ready for parents to suggest ideas for you to improve your teaching, from better control of the class to specific teaching techniques. Do not let it get to you. Be prepared for the possibility of blame from the parent for any problems with their child.
    My first parent teacher night was a nightmare. I was at school until 9pm, so was there for 13 hours that day. I forgot to bring something for tea, so was hungry and slightly short tempered. The parents were mostly nice, but almost all of them had some constructive criticism for me. One woman got mad at me for using self directed teaching techniques (which her daughter loved), and because her son was a D grade student. I ended up crying after that one and was extremely grateful that the next interview (directly after) was a teacher who decided to defend me to the line manager.

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