J2 Content – Perspectives

A varied collection of thoughts on education and parenting

Tales of a 4th Grade Parent/Teacher Conference

Parent /Teacher conferences are always tough for me.  I don’t particularly care for them, and generally feel that a note to and from the teacher would suffice in most cases. However, I was concerned over a steady decline in grades and general interest in school since switching my 9 year old from private to public school. My son has average to high marks in most subjects (with the exception of writing), but he has been struggling with homework and lacks focus. I felt a conference was needed to discuss the situation.

I truly believe that the education of any child is partnership between the teacher and the parents.  How to engage and build this partnership must be established and agreed upon by all parties in order to be successful.  In the case of academics for my son, what he learns at school should be reinforced or nurtured at home, and vice versa. Believing in this general philosophy is easy. Maintaining this belief by keeping one’s child on track is the complicated part.

In my sons case he was not completing his assignments in class, therefore the lesson at home was more of a catch up rather than re-instilling what he had learned earlier that day. Further, his teacher indicated that she constantly had to keep my son on task. Her concern was that with 30+ children in the class she simply didn’t have the time for my son to be so distracted. (Perhaps I will write about class over-crowding in another blog post.)

What tore me to the bone is a comment from the teacher about his inability to stay on task with items that he didn’t like to do:  “Has your son ever been tested for Attention Deficit Disorder?”

Wow.  The answer to her question was no. He had never been tested.

Should he be? Perhaps, but I wanted to take a step back to consider all of the elements.  Correctly diagnosing developmental disorders is certainly not my profession, nor the teacher’s.  But, I had to ask myself what he was experiencing. He has difficulty completing and staying on task on assignments he found boring, and, although he is able to accomplish several tasks at once, this was causing some disruption in class. Are these the symptoms of a child with ADD or of a 9-year-old that could simply be lazy in academics?  Perhaps both apply. Again, I’m no Doctor in developmental psychology.

Going back to the philosophy of partnering with my son’s teacher, I suggested a few alternatives to diagnosing my son with ADD during a parent/teacher conference:

  • I agreed he’d get a good night sleep and healthy breakfast before school.
  • She agreed that if he didn’t complete his assignment in class, she would send it home to complete along with the assigned homework for the evening.
  • I agreed that he would have to face the consequences of not completing his assignments at home. For example, if he didn’t finish his work in class, he would be required to complete both the homework and in-class work prior to any play time being allowed.
  • She agreed to write me a note on days she felt he was not keeping on track at school. I agreed to sit down with my son on those days and discuss.
  • We both agreed to meet again periodically to see how it was going.

My son may have ADD, or he may just need a little direction and extra attention in order to do well in class.

Tags: - - -

Leave a Reply

© 2021 J2 Content. All Rights Reserved.