Hey, chances are, if you are getting towards the end of your first or second semester you have parent-teacher interviews (also known as parent-teacher chats, student-parent-teacher triads, intense interrogations or possibly knights of the learning round table chinwag…maybe) coming up.
It’s like a party, but without treats, silliness or clowns.
Or you just might happen to actually talk to the parents in your class (though, we also know they don’t seem to pop in as much as their kids go further up the school!).
Something that I always love doing during these times with parents is to stop and make a point to note something they might not usually see as a success during this semester.
Whilst we often think and talk about students success within Maths and English, we often miss a huge number of awesome ‘Seeds of Success’ sitting their in your ‘general’ comments, or daily interactions with our students.
(Sidenote: In Melbourne, schools often use a general comment to summarise, report on and celebrate the personal, social, extra-curricular and individual achievements for a student. It’s normally the first/only thing parents may read in a report. Your school may have a different name for it!)
Today’s post is about choosing to make time to celebrate those Seeds of Success…with ourselves and our students and their parents. (But, yes, you may still have to talk about times tables and/or spelling at some point too during your parent-teacher chat).
So, how do we know what those golden Seeds of Success are?
Start by thinking about the little unique things you know about a kid. The certain kinds of behaviours they show during independent learning times, small group learning, class discussions, paired work…or even when you’re all cleaning up the room.
The little statements that might lie within the middle of a sentence of a student’s report, that you’ve actually spent a lot of bloody hard work, energy and time on to build up.
You know those things; those things you do while you’re also shaping students as writers, mathematicians, artists, editors and readers. Those things like helping them thinking for themselves, questioning what they believe, changing how they see themselves, shifting how they interact with others or manage their emotions.
OMG! I do know those things!
All of those things that might not explicitly fit into your Maths, English, Science or Humanities assessment areas, but are just, if not more, important than those other skills and understandings.
Those things that some people call “soft” skills, or being-a-good-person skills. Or what I sometimes say/think to myself: not-being-a-jerk skills.
Why would I listen to someone talking to me?
You know, empathy, creativity, critical thinking, resilience and the buzz worthy collaboration.
Those skills we all need to actually make a positive impact in any group, team, organisation, dream, project or job.
While you gear up for the next round of parent-teacher chats, put aside some time to bring up your kids’ reports and find one or two of these seeds. They will be there. They just sometimes get buried amongst all of the other learning you’ve supported your kids to achieve.
Chances are you most likely might not even need to check out the reports because, like the wide majority of teachers, you know your kids and those little things they do.
While we can get caught up in the typically academic aspects of reports and churning through having parent-teacher chats, don’t forget to make time to celebrate the smaller, but hugely impactful, parts that make up the whole kid that you (and the student) have been focusing on at school.
Yes, their acquisition of partitioning and using the split strategy may still be in “consolidation mode”. Yep, their letters may not always be within the 18mm dotted thirds. No, they may not yet consistently use complex sentences independently.
However, are they seeking to ask different kinds of open or closed questions…and actually listening to the responses?
Do they own a mistake they’ve made?
Ask people what they think during a group task?
Use initiative to help someone stuck?
Get out their pencil case at the start of the day?
Know a high five might not be appropriate right in the middle of ‘Mat Time’?
Ask you how you are going and then stop to listen?
Those little seeds of success become massive things in the future.
Every day we add a little bit more to them, so don’t forget to acknowledge, celebrate and share the successes that can often go unnoticed by us.
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