4 tips for a great Parent/Teacher conference

Seriously, you ask? Why this topic? Well, our conferences are coming up and it made me think about what makes for a successful meeting with the teacher.

There are as many different styles of teaching as there are of parenting but generally you are not consulted on the teacher that your child gets.  You may have a perfect match and think your child’s teacher is like Miss Jean from Romper Room (but with more degrees) or you may have the great with kids/not-so-great-with parents teacher (hint: you do want this teacher – it is not about you). The teacher’s style might differ from your own. Whatever it is, as long as the teacher is competent and fair, your needs are not primary.  Remember, although you prefer your style, your child will benefit from learning how to deal with people with different styles.  Just a little prep for the working world.

Here are some tips to make the most of your ten minutes of conference time.

Tip #1:    Dress nicely. No, I do not mean pull out all the stops and your fanciest duds.  I do mean be respectful.  You are going to the teacher’s place of employment and discussing your child.  I wore a twin set and nice pants to my preschool-aged child’s first conference.  Let’s be clear, I had a 3-year-old and an 8-month-old.  I had not been out of t-shirts and sweats in, well, maybe 3 years and 8 months.  The teacher noticed the effort and we joked about it.  Great start to a terrific preschool.  Lose the workout gear and put on something decent.  It does matter.

Tip #2:  Be respectful in manner as well as dress. It is their job and all teachers do know that this is your child and you want only the best for them.  They do.  Listen to their concerns, if any, or simply bask in the praise.

Tip #3:  Be prepared with particular questions about the curriculum and your child’s progress. You may think that the curriculum is not rigorous enough. You may feel it is too challenging. Find out how to support your child in reaching their academic goals. If both you and your spouse attend, talk before to make sure you are on the same page.

Tip #4:  Be mindful of the time. Whether you have a list of questions and concerns or just get off topic, there are other people waiting. If your conference starts late, you may go a few minutes over if you haven’t covered everything but you can always follow-up by email, telephone or schedule a follow-up appointment.

Follow these tips and you will have a great conference and have the added goodwill of the teacher.

Oh, and turn off all electronic devices.

Charlestown sites to see

Our travels to historic sites continued with visits to the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) and the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown today.  Great to get moving on an otherwise cold and gray day. We parked in a lot for the USS Constitution and enjoyed the walk along the harbor to the ship. The Boston skyline appears very close and very beautiful.

The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world (according to our tour guide) and it is amazing to walk through.  The sailor who gave our tour was wonderfully animated and engaging, and also shared a great deal of information about the ship and its battles.  It was pretty cold today so it wasn’t as crowded as it will be in the summer http://www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution/.  They don’t charge admission but you are encouraged to make a donation.

We also learned the origin of the word scuttlebutt  -noun 1. 1. Nautical.  a. an open cask of drinking water.  b. a drinking fountain for use by the crew of a vessel. 2. Informal. rumor or gossip. Origin:  1795–1805; 1900–05 Dictionary.com. I knew it meant gossip but did not know the origin.  Well worth the visit and be sure to check out a short (ten minute) film about the Charlestown Navy Yard after you visit the ship and visit the visitor’s center. There is also a Museum that looks great that we didn’t have a chance to visit.

We continued on to the The Bunker Hill Monument – we could have walked but it was cold and enthusiasm was fading.  Interest revived when we got there and got to make the tremendous climb up 294 (twisting and tight)  steps to the top.  Great views of the city and the USS Constitution (mostly the masts). There were only a few people at the top – a teacher and her students from California who were as out of breath as we were.  http://www.cityofboston.gov/FreedomTrail/bunkerhill.asp  A bit dizzying but we are none worse for the wear.

Time for a nice dinner and the Olympics.

Social Media is so cool or Capability Mom geeks out

Okay, if you know what social media is, great. If, like me, you had heard about it but really had no idea what it entailed – here is the scoop.

I decided to start a blog. I figured out a name and where to sign up (first Blogger then WordPress.com – more about that later). I started writing  (posting). I had no visitors and was only lower on the search results than, well, actually, I was the lowest on the search results.  Since using social media (I sound like a toothpaste ad), I have moved up the search results on Google considerably. Disclaimer: you have to type Capability Mom or Capabilty:Mom and I am second and third on the list. Let’s be clear, I am not doing anything other than twitter and a Facebook Fan Page.

I am thrilled with this mini-success.  I am the daughter of an electrical engineer and think math is one of the circles of hell.  I do, however, like to put things together. I like to rewire lamps and have recently started messing with  Facebook’s static FBML (their mark up language so you can customize your Fan Page).  What is a Fan Page? It is a page for a business or organization. While I haven’t figured out HTML yet (it may take me a bit more time), I have googled some sites that give tutorials.  Here is a link to Facebook FBML http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=4949752878  to explain what it is and here is a FBML tutorial  that shows you how to do it. Why do you want to? Because it is cool and let’s you put whatever you want in your Fan Page.

Geek out.

How to Really Love a Child poem by SARK

A poem about How to Really Love a Child by SARK

via How to Really Love a Child poem by SARK.

From Pragmatic Mom’s blog today. I have always loved this. Thanks, Pragmatic Mom!

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