Well, I offered extra credit to my students for having their parents come to conferences.
I'm not sure if it's that, or the fact that I have mostly 7th graders, which caused such a big turnout.
We have a really difficult area with very low parent involvement.
So when I have 125 parents of 195 students come, that's pretty awesome!
I didn't really have any difficult or defensive parents. All were very supportive of my policies and comments and seemed to want their kids to do well.
I think one of the best parts of this conference was how many positive comments I received.
I had two or three parents tell me how their kids come home and talk about my class, telling their parents how much they enjoy it. Some of my students told me my class is their favorite. Several kids (especially 8th graders--we're reading The Outsiders) told me that they love the book we are reading.
Add onto this how many visits I've gotten in the past 5 weeks from my old students, and all of the positive comments they've had for me... I'm feeling pretty good about what I do.
My most recent comment from a student on Facebook said, "Ms. Balibrea;I'd like to thank you for being such a great English teacher!On my SAT test there was a question about writing essays, & I got it right. (:"
Awesome! Plus I have way fewer Fs this year so far than in years past--some classes with only 3 or 4 kids, which I can definitely remedy with ease!
I am NOT perfect. There is so much I am NOT doing that I need to be doing. My plan for this term is pretty much non-existent. Nothing has been cohesive toward a pre-determined assessment. I'm just doing all sorts of things wrong. My differentiation sucks. I'm not using any assessments to inform my teaching--except informally to know where I need to spend more time (my 7th graders are not getting their commonly confused words and some prefixes/suffixes). I'm not preparing substantially for my lessons--not putting up pictures to help my visual or ELL kids...
But it's term 1. I will get better. I just had to get moving and get by this term--survival mode. We ARE doing our reading strategy: reciprocal teaching. I think the kids will be better at it as the year goes on. One of the positive consequences I can see already is it opens up dialogue and lets kids feel comfortable letting me know when they are confused; it's creating the safe kind of environment they need in order to understand. Though I really do get concerned at their lack of strategies for figuring things out. I hope this helps them.
So they say after the third year you'll know if you should keep teaching. I have to get through the 2012-13 school year because of my endorsement, but this year is seriously GREAT so far. My classes and kids are awesome. And I have all the kids from last year giving me a little bit of payoff and appreciation, which makes me feel like it's worth it. Maybe they're right. Maybe this is the year that decides it all!