Question 1: Goal of the Conference
As the teacher, Terri Kline, Tim’s Teacher would like the parents to know that there are some strange behaviors in Tim, which require urgent attention. Her goal is to let the parents know that they can assist their own children overcome psychological torture while she plays her part as a teacher. She does want the parents to be aware of the issues affecting Tim but does not want to displace parents in their role of parenthood. Evidently, she is not decided on whether to promote Tim or to retain him in the current class. The teacher seems to know a lot more about Tim than any other person. However, she would wish to involve the parents, the principal, guidance and counseling person. The teacher wishes to develop a sustainable memorandum under so that all stakeholders of the conference have a chance to assist Tim. The teacher would wish to know how Tim relates to his parents and what the parents prefer about Tim’s treatment. Additionally, the teacher would like to know how Tim relates to his parents back at home. Her main concern is the effects of Team’s problems on his relationship with other students. The common understanding desired for the conference is to have a combined effort to assist Tim. The second understanding is that the conference is not a disciplinary committee but a remedial meeting. From the conference, the teacher wishes to let the entire conference understand the progress that Tim has made since she began to handle his case.
Question 2: Conference Description
The most suitable form of conference required in this situation is a quiet closed-door meeting involving a sequence of discussions between teacher and the parents, parents and Tim, Tim and the counselor and the final meeting involving everybody. It requires confidentiality in the sense that no external entities will have the information. The most important meeting will be the one in which all participants gather and communicate all their opinions. However, Tim should have more time with the guidance and counseling person because this will probably allow him to open up and disclose the mysteries unknown.
The conference seeks to achieve the desired results through the material used, proper timing, favorable atmosphere, professional approach and logical message. In terms of the atmosphere, the conference requires a peaceful private but formal meeting in which everybody is given a chance to contribute his or her point. In terms of the professionalism of the approach, the teacher should know the parents and they should have frequent communication unlimited to the conferences. The material used or the mode of communication depends on the seriousness of the issue being discussed. Simple matters can be discussed over the phone or through letters. However, issues that are more serious can only be discussed during face-to-face meetings. The timing of the conferences ought to be less busy parts of the year and the duration spent in the conferences should not be too long, lest the parents get discouraged from attending subsequent conferences.
Question 3: Important Documentation
In this conference, it would be prudent to share Tim’s medical records. It is obvious from records that Tim is not sick. As the conference progresses, a responsible person can be preparing documentation of the discussion as a record for future use. Every person in the conference ought to feel recognized and respected. In this regard, everyone has to be given equal audience. It means that there must be control on the language that people use in the discussion; full of gentleness and politeness. This is possible considering the possible effects of blame games and insults. The other document to share here is Tim’s portfolio items showing his performance. This is necessary because Tim does not show any interest in class work and is not excited to move to the next class as it would be the joy of any child of his caliber. The other document to be shared is the logbook, showing the records of disciplinary history of every student. This is to show the effects of Tim’s condition on his relationship with other students. All indicators in the records suggest that the cause of Tim’s condition is not in school. If it turns out from the counseling, sessions that the domestic and social issues cause the challenge right from home, then it the solution would be to discuss the action points with the parents alone. Again, the record of cleanliness will assist the entire conference to understand the direct effects of Tim’s condition on his health and hygiene. It will be vital to show the class attendance report. This will show the number of classes that Tim attends. Finally, there is a need to share records of extra-curricular activities, which Tim participates in, and his performance in them. This will be important in determining how occupied his mind is. It could be better to listen to the parents in the discussion because they may not have any written records of significance to the conference.
Question 4: Invitation
RE: INVITATION TO PARENT / TEACHER / STUDENT CONFERENCE
I wish to invite you to a Parent / Teachers / Students’ conference on 20TH October 2013 at the School’s Social Hall beginning from 8:00PM to 8: 20 PM. The subject of discussion will be on issues on how to assist your son Tim. I together with other teachers have noticed unusual behavior suggesting that he is undergoing psychological disorder. Of late, I have noticed that Tim has all of a sudden become untidy, careless with his class work and inconsistent in his class attendance. His fellow students have also complained about his arrogance and his violent behaviors. They fear relating with him because his actions traumatize them. We will discuss more when you attend the meeting. Our ultimate objective as a school is to assist him in overcoming the psychological challenges. I am looking forward to your attendance of the meeting. Kindly keep time because we will have a lot to discuss.
Terri Kline, Tim’s Teacher
Question 6: Location of the Conference
The location of the conference ought to be relaxed and pleasant for discussion. The venue for the conference is the school’s Board Room. It is located within the administration building from the classrooms. This is very essential because students should not be able to hear what is being discussed. At the same time, the meeting will enjoy silence and hence there will be no interference from within or without. To create a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere for the discussion, the conference has to begin with prayers and introduction of participants. The next immediate step is to introduce the topic of discussion. It will be the class teacher responsibility to give a description of the problem before the entire committee. From then, the discussion can shift from one person to another. There has to be either the principal or any teacher to coordinate the meeting, manage time, peace and order. The location is also far from public roads hence it is a quiet environment.
Question 7: Script
Tim’s Teacher: Thank you for responding to my invitation. I called you here to discuss issues on how to assist Tim.
Tim’s Mother: Thank you for your invitation, I had to come because the issues you addressed in the invitation letter were of concern to me. What exactly is happening?
Tim’s Teacher: Well, Tim has a serious problem. He exhibits very strange behaviors, which have begun to affect his relationship with his peers.
Tim’s Mother: What behaviors?
Tim’s Teacher: Tim comes late to school unprepared for class both socially and academically. He is untidy and does not show seriousness in his homework. I wanted to know from you, How do you relate as parents and Child? Do you have time for him at home?
Tim’s Mother: I understand what a parent has to do to support a child go to school. However, I have not been able to do everything because I have been busy. I am occupied with work, and I travel a lot. I miss time with him, and I believe he misses me too.
Tim’s Teacher: I think his problem his problem is psychological, and he requires counseling. I called you so that we can come see how to help him. Can you create time for him and take him for a day out. I know parents can be busy, but I if you do that, he will feel that you value him.
Tim’s Mother: I see! It has taken long since I ever took him and his siblings out.
Tim’s Teacher: I as his teacher will b patient with him, but will take him through a remedial process. My request to you is, Lets be communicating regularly about Tim’s behaviors. I also suggest that you and I have at least two meetings in a term to discuss his progress. Is that possible?
Tim’s Mother : That’s brilliant. Can we possibly meet in two weeks from now?
Tim’s Teacher: Sure! But most importantly, let us be communicating on phone before the meeting. Thank you so much. Do you have anything to add?
Tim’s Mother : No, Mine is to thank you for being concerned about my son’s well being in school.
Tim’s Teacher: Never mind, that is my commitment. I also thank you for heeding to my invitation. We will join hands to help Tim. He will be a responsible boy. Thanks a lot let’s keep in Touch. (The two shaking Hands) Bye.
Tim’s Mother : See you!
Donoghue, D., Wakefield, S. & Collins, E. (2005). A guide for beginning elementary teachers: Getting hired and staying inspired. London: Libraries Unlimited.
The authors of this guide describe the attributes of a teacher and the interest, which a teacher develops while handling children in low-grade classes. The authors argue that the inspiration of a teacher goes beyond just the teaching job but also in managing interpersonal issues affecting their personalities. They have a perspective that the teaching career especially in a child’s life is a calling rather than a mere career. The teacher, according to the article, has the privilege and a commitment to intervene between parents and the student and encourage a healthy relationship. The author’s encourage the teacher to break the routine activities that occupy parent priorities and develop interests in the emotional affairs affecting the student.
Hiatt-Michael, D. B. (2010). Promising practices to support family involvement in schools. New York: IAP.
The author of this article recommends practices for teachers who manage the elementary classes. Like the first article, the author here agrees that teaching is not limited to academic excellence, but goes beyond to the support of social affairs. The authors also agree that in the teaching career, both parents and the teachers are actively involved. He argues that parents have many ways of inspiring children in absentia in school including providing security to them, necessary resources and emotional support. At the same time, he recommends the involvement of teachers both in school and at home through their parents.
Mandel, S. (2008). The parent-teacher partnership: How to work together for student achievement. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.
The author describes the relationship between parents and teachers as a joint action for mutual benefits. The parent – teacher relationship according to Mandel is a means of working together to achieve a common goal of developing future responsible students. The author encourages a feedback mechanism in which teachers inform parents of the students’ progress in academic and social affairs. Mandel, however, says the partnership is not limited to teachers and parents but is by extension, an invitation to other responsible stakeholders. The authors acknowledge the fact that the teachers spend greater percentage of their time with the students; therefore can encourage the parent by emotionally supporting them. The teacher can also counsel the student because the student’s shyness prevents him from discussing certain matters with the parent.
Wyk, N. V. & Lemmer, E. (2008). Organising Parent Involvement in SA Schools. Johannesburg: Juta and Company Ltd.
Wyk and Lemmer have the opinion that conferences organized for teachers and parents are the best chances for the two groups to communicate and share their experiences. Rightfully so, the authors argue that there are some issues about children which can best be communicated in face-to-face meetings. In fact, they recommend in the book that the conferences can be organized twice per year for better results. The suggestion about the conferences preparation is for teachers and parents to summarize in writing, the subjects they would like to address in the conference. Further to that, they recommend that parents be given more time to ask questions and make clarifications during the discussion. Before the closure of the meeting, the book suggests that the two groups agree on an action plan for the future since both of them are influential on the child’s well being.