Parents & Teachers

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Parents & Teachers

Karrie Norton, Editor

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This article will keep the identity of teachers quoted anonymous.

Murray High’s parent-teacher conferences were held February 26th & 27th. We’ve done this tradition for years, and for some teachers, like Mr. Wood, decades even. We all gather in the school Commons after hours and talk to the teachers we see every day with our parents about how we can improve our work.

It’s a great opportunity for students who need insight or guidance from their teachers and for parents to be involved in their student’s education. The question that is posed is: do the students who need to go to conferences, go? And do the students who are attending, really need to be there?

When asked, teachers unanimously said that the students and parents who they think need to be coming, are not, and the kids who are excelling are the only ones showing up.

“The parents that are showing up and stroking their kids’ egos… which is good, but we don’t see the parents whose kids need that help most times… they just don’t care or can’t come,” said one Murray teacher when posed with the question. It seems to be a common feeling among the teachers that were spoken to.

This isn’t questioning whether or not parent-teacher conferences are good or useful, it’s only a look into why they are not working as they should.

“[The difficulty parents face] is working around work and family schedules,” says Charles Vargas, a Murray senior. “I haven’t gone to any this year and I’m not planning on it.”

Though some students are on board with coming,

“I like going […] my teachers tell me I’m doing good. It validates why I’m trying so hard,” Senior Andrew Reynolds says about showing up.

Some students don’t attend because of the time that it consumes. Dakota White says that, “There are too many kids going to the same teachers at once. You’re there for hours on end.”

Too much time out of people’s schedules and free time drives parents and students away from attending. So with so many factors preventing them from coming, how are schools expected to solve this problem? Scheduling meetings, multiple days, later start and end times, and yet attendance is lower than hoped. Or, are Parent-teacher conferences an outdated concept in high schools?

“I think that we should use this time in our rooms and have the kids with a C and below come in and address it,” A notion that has circulated before and is a possible to solution to one part of a multi-faceted problem. Possibly having parents and students go from classroom to classroom and having a set meeting period with the teacher is a better solution than a large group gathering with every man for themselves.

One teacher even goes so far as to say, “I think at this age, students should be proactive and on their own stuff. I think it should be student-teacher conferences. The goal is to get you as self-sufficient as possible.” Though we have flex time each day, there are many times that when students need a teacher’s help and attention, so do a group of other students, maybe a 10-minute one-on-one could be helpful.

With the recent push for technology in the classroom, when is the push made for teacher’s and parents to use it? Students are given Chromebooks, teachers are given smart projectors, laptops, and TVs in their rooms, and most (though not all) people have a smart device always on their person. Technology is quickly being weaved into our culture & that is now starting to include our education system.

Do you think that parent-teacher conferences are relevant in today’s society?

“No, I don’t. We pushed to use technology in the classroom and that should extend to this. Why wait for one night, if there is a problem academically, it’s often too late to fix the problem. Parents have 24 access to grades. It’s archaic. We have the technology… maybe I’m just lazy.” answered one anonymous Murray teacher.

On the contrary, other teachers find parent-teacher’s helpful and they do not believe that it should be changed, no matter how small the spring semester’s turn out has been.

“I think overall, yes, it is that last chance, it’s hard to assume they have access to that technology.”

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