Sunday, January 25, 2009

Student Led Parent Conferences

A couple of weeks ago, the eighth grade class had a special meeting. Ms. McGee, the head of the middle school, and Mr. Howarth, the dean of the middle school, told us that we were going to lead our own conferences with our parents. Each 8th grader was given a folder with a sheet that told about each of the assignments we would need to complete in order to prepare for the conference. At first I was thinking "having a conference all alone with my parents will be so  awkward." But then I looked over the assignment sheet and my thoughts turned to "how will I ever find the time to finish all of these reflections?" There were a lot of assignments, with questions ranging from "How can you use your strengths to help you with your weaknesses" to "What are your favorite subjects and why?" I got right to work, looking through my portfolio to help me think of what to say. Luckily I didn't have to finish all the assignments that day. We were given a schedule for completing the assignments. The first few were due the next wednesday. The first question was pretty simple- "what are your strengths as a learner? be sure to consider all aspects of your life such as academics, performing arts, sports etc." I immediately thought about the fall soccer season, where I was not the best player on the team, but I was so determined to improve that I ended up having a very successful season. So thinking about this, I wrote a couple of paragraphs about  how determination has helped me in other situations as well. The second question was a little harder- "What are your weaknesses as a learner?" It was hard to admit to my weaknesses, but I knew I did have some. I ended up writing about how I allow myself to get distracted by my peers, referring to a math homework assignment that I didn't do as well as I would have like on because I wasn't focused in class the day it was explained. As I got into a rhythm answering the first couple of assignments, I began to relax and realize that it wasn't as much work as I had initially thought, and so far the process has helped me to realize what I am doing well and what I need to improve upon, which is exactly what I will need to discuss in my conference. And I even began thinking "hey, this is kinda fun!"  There are still eight assignments to go, but now that I've gotten started I know I can handle them.

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