HPMD Quotes & Sources
The mother of a middle school student who was smart but underachieving, made an appointment for a conference with the teacher. She wanted to talk about what should be done to challenge the child to use more of his ability. When the mother showed up, the teacher asked her "What are you doing here? Your student's doing fine."
Rather than comforting her, this greatly disturbed the parent. "If the teacher thinks that my son is doing okay, she must not know him well enough to be much help beyond the basics. Why would she think teacher conferences are for the struggling students only? They say that they want parents involved because it is an essential part of effective schools. Yet they discourage any real involvement as long as the student is getting by. It's no wonder many parents don't go to conferences if they receive no encouragement or direction on how they can support the educational goals."
The parent's desire was reasonable. "I'd like a partnership with the teacher where my son can be given some extra challenge and stretched to use more of his capabilities. I'd like her to know my son well enough so that she knows when he's being lazy and can do better. I'd like her to be proactive and suggest to every parent how their child can develop their talents better, not just to pass the lowest common denominator requirements. I'd like all parents to be encouraged to get involved in a meaningful way, not just to bake cookies. Finally, I'd like some guidance on how I support the educational process with my son."
The moral: it's important to listen and hear the client's concerns. Positive feedback is just as important as constructive criticism. We need to balance our comments about things gone wrong, with reports about things gone right. And never miss an opportunity to give positive reinforcement!
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