It is that time again. Time to put on your best smile. Your best tie or dress. Your best attitude. In less than 48 hours tomorrow evening hundreds of parents will be milling about our school’s gymnasium searching for their child’s teacher. That’s right … it is conferences time! So, how should a Christian teacher tackle parent/teacher conferences? What should we watch out for? Let’s try to boil this down to five easy points to remember that will unite the parent, teacher, and student together.
Point 1: Always begin with a positive. It doesn’t matter if that kid has a 22 percent in your class or if he consistently misbehaves, poking the poor kid next to him. Every kid has something good inside them that needs to be noticed. In 1 Thessalonians 5: 11 Paul tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Starting with a positive can lighten the burden of more serious conversations later.
Point 2: Don’t fluff the truth. Being a positive person, so many times I have been tempted to only focus on the good. After all, I am a peacemaker, and I loathe confrontation. But God tells us in Proverbs 12: 22, “The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in those who tell the truth.” Be gentle yet honest when talking to parents about their child’s shortcomings. Parents want to help their kids, and if they don’t know where their child can improve, how can that kid grow?
Point 3: Treat every conversation uniquely. This is not an assembly line, and each kid has their own distinctive personality. Psalm 139: 14 states that we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Try to point out specific unique incidents that you have seen in each child. Whether it be an amazing assignment they completed or even a day when you saw them stick up for another kid, these specific stories will show parents that we truly care about their sons and daughters.
Point 4: Be patient. Try not to be abrasive if you have that difficult parent that blames everyone but their child. “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3: 12). Work with these parents. Understand them. Try to see things from their perspective. Let them see Christ inside you, and let that light shine for all to see.
Point 5: Run with endurance. The next two days will be a marathon, and you will need to pace yourself through many faces and unique incidents. Paul tells us in Hebrews 12: 1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” What an amazing battle cry to spur us through the week!
Let’s end today with a prayer … Father God, thank you for this amazing group of teachers who are about to set forth on a journey through parent/teacher conferences. Give us endurance, positivity, and patience. Guard our hearts and fill our minds with things you deem worthy. Most of all, Lord, we pray that your son Jesus Christ will be seen through our words and actions. It is in His precious name we pray. Amen.
(The Christian teacher was not meant to simply survive parent/teacher conferences; we were made to thrive! Let Casting Crowns “Thrive” spur you through the week.)
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