Getting the most from your parent student teacher interviews

I hope the year has begun well for your family and that everyone is settling into the school year. I particularly welcome those families who are new to Carey. Particular congratulations must go to all our Year 7s; it has certainly been fast and furious and from all accounts they have been doing a terrific job getting to know each other and the hundreds of new school routines.

Middle School has indeed been all action in the last few weeks. Year 7s have been heading off to the stunningly beautiful Toona camp; Summer Sports Day was a great day to make friends and burn off excess energy; the Hawaiian-themed casual clothes day was super fun and a wonderful fundraiser for the people of Tonga; assembly highlighted International Women’s Day; APS Saturday sport is in full swing and lunchtime CRASH activities have been launched, including new tables tennis tables and a wonderful plaza for eating and chatting. We have also had a spectacular evening of poetry and music and many mentor-led House activities. Hopefully there has been something for everyone and that these activities have helped your child make connections and feel excited about the new school year!

Alongside these many wonderful activities, teaching and learning is also now in full swing. Classroom routines and protocols have been set and students know what to expect and what boundaries they can push! Teachers have been getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of each student and there have been opportunities to explore Canvas courses, resources and announcements. In the next few weeks, many core subjects will complete the first unit of work and you will notice an increase in homework as summative assessments become due. Timely feedback for students is one of the most important learning tools and this will consistently appear in Canvas and will be visible by students and parents. An important opportunity to discuss your child’s progress are the upcoming parent student teacher interviews and by now you should have received your login details.

I know that I have said this before, but it is worth taking some time to ponder before booking your interviews. As a parent, I have tried various approaches to the question of how many interviews and with which teachers. One year, we met with the ‘problem’ areas, but that ended up being a bit too confronting for our typical middleschooler who was more interested in mates than academics. We rebounded next time and just met with the teachers of the ‘favourite’ subjects; we all had a good evening but, on reflection, we didn’t learn much. We also tried meeting with every teacher but found that was information overload, and when we focussed on the ‘new’ teachers, we felt we knew more about our child than someone who had taught him for only 20 lessons.

As with all parenting issues, we have learned from experience. We now sit down and talk with our children before requesting any interviews (radical idea, I know!). We try to find out what our children have been learning, what strategies have been working, and which have not, how the relationships with teachers have been developing, and what feedback they have been receiving in Canvas. We then choose teachers based on where we feel we can help our child. Of course, you can always request an interview to simply put a name to a face or even catch up with a familiar face! Whichever your approach, listening, watching and speaking are great ways of building that important partnership between school and family.

The new school year always brings some ups and downs while students, teachers and parents transition into new subjects and year levels. Hopefully these interviews help smooth the way for a successful year. Please feel free to contact me if I can help in anyway with your child’s learning.

Meredith Plaisted
Deputy Head of Middle School – Student Learning

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