Parent Teacher Conferences

The culture of our community is defined by the conditions in which we are collectively raising our children. It is my hope that what defines our community’s culture, then, is love, patience, and communication.  As you sit down this week for your Parent Teacher Conference, I think you will find that these attributes speak clearly to the culture in which our children are being raised, in school and out.

We have no tool as powerful as love to support child development. The love that teachers and parents share for the children they raise together is our most treasured resource. While your teachers will be talking about developmental milestones and upcoming challenges, they are first and foremost sharing with you their love of your child. They are sharing with you happy moments and hard moments; moments of sharing and moments of screaming; moments of play and moments of tears. When parents and teachers approach each of these moments with a common love for the child, then we are on the right page. More than anything else, my hope is for our community to be defined by this love that we share.

Along with this love comes the need for an inexhaustible reserve of patience in both teachers and parents.  Nowhere in education does there exist an answer to the question of, “When will she start to read?” or “How long will he behave like this?” that doesn’t revolve around some sense of “Only time will tell.” Our children demand of us that we be patient with them. There is no short-cutting development. We come together for conferences so that we can each better understand the child and provide appropriate environments for their development, not so we can rush them through one milestone and onto the next. Our children deserve, they have the right, to blossom and bloom along their own timeline.

Communication is the key component in the successful transition of a child from home to school and back again.  Your conference is a significant moment of communication; your teachers will have a lot to share and will also want to hear from you about what is happening in all of the areas outside of school that your child experiences daily and weekly. As these environments shift throughout the year, stay in communication with your teachers about this. A new toy she is taking to at home? A best friend who he got in a fight with? A family member in from out of town? All of this is so important for teachers to know.  And likewise, we will be communicating to you about your child’s developmental pathways, likes and interests, and preferred playmates in school.

When we hold true to these ideas of love, patience, and communication within our Parent Teacher Conferences, we create what Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot terms a “sanctified space.”  Lightfoot, a sociologist and professor of education at Harvard since the 1970s, brings to mind the Jewish concept of kadosh, of “sanctity” and “holiness” (you might recognize this root in the Hebrew prayer for Kiddush, over wine, and Kaddish, for a deceased love one).  In Judaism, we mark sanctity by its distinction from the daily, from the regular.  In this sense, Lightfoot is correct in her nomenclature.  Our conferences are unlike all other interactions we have as partners; they are distinct and therefore holy. They arekadosh. 

We are excited to share this holy space with you as we talk about your child. We are honored to partner with you in the raising of children and in the creation of community.