How to Handle Teacher Conferences
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Display the nice manners your mother taught you. Be sure to thank the teacher for his or her time and efforts by mail, e-mail or phone. Reconfirm your mutual course of action, and promise to keep him or her posted.
Put the plan in action and follow it up. Together with James, mark the milestones and interim goals on James's personal calendar that's posted in the kitchen. Or if he's a techno-guy, he can log the dates on his handheld computer. If he has a cell phone, he can enter dates and set them to beep using the calendar programming feature. Do this to ensure that he participates in his own "change equation." Then, follow up by phone, e-mail, or letter on the recommendations made during the conference. Did you contact that creative writing tutor? Are you helping James study for social studies quizzes by implementing the teacher's idea to construct a visual timeline? Demonstrate that you valued the teacher's suggestions by acting on them.
Maybe the most shocking way to get James's mind off music, cars, and girls and back toward schoolwork would be to put this chapter on teacher conferences in his hands and have him do the entire thing himself. Teachers have been known to change grades when a student takes initiative, makes changes, and works hard to show he's got the will and the drive to make it happen. This approach would gives James the self-control and independence a fifteen-year-old yearns for within the safe parameters a forty-year-old adult can live with. Then when his grade point average exceeds his percentage of coolness achieved, you'll both have something to party about.
More on: Relating to the Teacher
From Teacher Says by Evelyn Porreca Vuko. Copyright © 2004. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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