Teachers Find Virtual Parent Conferences Successful
Even with all the challenges due to the pandemic, sometimes change can have a silver lining. Lincoln Elementary School teachers, who conducted parent-teacher conferences virtually this year, found that they had a higher rate of participation and engagement.
“We realized with the virtual conferences that it was an option that was much more convenient for many of our parents,” said Lincoln Elementary School kindergarten teacher, Melissa Forster. “I had one parent Zoom from the Laundromat with her two kids. I sent folders home to parents in advance of the meeting with all the information included and she was ready to talk while she was folding laundry. I really appreciated how hard she tried to make it work. I found that this year, with every family, they all wanted to talk and find out more about their child’s education.”
Lincoln Elementary School has held two virtual parent-teacher conference days so far this year and the teachers found that parents were more relaxed not coming into school but doing it from their home or office. Mrs. Forster also had a dad who was training in New York City to be a Lieutenant with the Fire Department Zoom into the parent-teacher conference while mom Zoomed from home.
“We realized that this is a very viable option for the future,” said Lincoln Elementary School second grade teacher, Jim Cama. “It is something we can offer to parents to make it more convenient for them in addition to in-person conferences. We know childcare has always been a problem in the past and this is one way to help parents with that concern and still learn more about how to help their child succeed.”
Virtual parent-teacher conferences still allow face-to-face meetings and teachers had no technical issues with their conferences.
“It was really a nice way to connect and share stories about their children,” said Mrs. Forster. “Every parent is looking for more ways on how to help their children with their education at home and these virtual conferences open up a conversation and we can help them where they need it.”
The teachers understand the pressures the parents are under right now.
“We are here to help our families,” said Mr. Cama. “We know they are going through a lot right now but we see how hard they are trying to make it work for their kids. We want them to know that if they need us, they can call or Zoom. We are ready to lend a helping hand.”