I am well accustomed to parents’ evening. I know what to expect: I know the drill. However, that’s because I used to sit on the other side of the desk, I was the teacher. As a teacher you don’t feel the fear. You aren’t worried that you are about to be told that your angelic, sweet child is actually a raging psychopath who likes to torture the school goldfish. As a teacher you are merely focussed on your list. You know that you need to approach this like a military operation. Ten minutes on each. 15 max on the tricky ones and move on. You can’t afford to fall behind or there will be a queue of irate parents at your desk, the headteacher will be tutting and you will miss the start of The Apprentice. Short, succinct and on point is how parents’ evening should go. The format is always roughly the same, focus on the positives, really shout those positives and then set them one area of improvement. For the slightly trickier ones we have what we call in the trade – “ A sh*t sandwich”. You have a lovely positive, then you whack in your massive area of improvement, before swiftly moving on and diverting with another positive again.
What It’s Like For The Teacher
As a teacher you know that parents’ evening is never going to tell the whole story because you don’t have the time. 10 minutes is not enough to get to the real nitty-gritty of your child. We don’t have the time to do a whole personality and academic assessment in ten short minutes. However, don’t worry because if there were really was a problem with your child then you would have heard by now. You would have already been called in and probably hauled in front of the headteacher.
The Format For Parents’ Evening
Therefore, is a parents’ evening really of any use? In short, yes. A parents’ evening will let you know if your child is on target and how they are fitting in with class. You just might need to be fluent in teacher speak. You will need to be able to translate their phrases. Teachers don’t have the time for the preamble or the flowery language. Thanks to the government they have classes of 30 plus, a paperwork mountain and planning to do. Parents’ evening as a result can feel rushed but with this guide you will be able to leave parent’s evening knowing what they meant. This will help you read between the lines. Here are some of the classics with my teacher translations.
The Teacher Translati0ns
“She’s a performer”.
It means that she likes to be the centre of attention, won’t shut-up and probably refuses to work. Gotta love the performers in class.
“She has lots of friends and is happy to mix with everyone, including the boys”
She needs to stop chasing the boys around the playground and threatening to kiss them.
“She has a real sense of justice”
She can be incredibly annoying and likes to tell me when I have treated someone unfairly, and she refuses to backdown.
“She loves to dance”.
You really need to stop her watching the music channel because a 4 year-old singing “if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it” is rather alarming, as is the twerking.
“She’s always so happy”.
I don’t think she even knows what day of the week it is.
This is one from my parent’s evening when I was a child and it was used by my Math’s teacher. I was useless at Maths and what that teacher really meant is “Poor Emma, she just keeps trying but she will never get Maths, EVER”
“She’s not afraid to put her opinion across in group work”
She is incredibly bossy and won’t listen to the opinions of anyone else in the rest of the group, but that’s okay because no one else in the group dare share their opinions.
Obviously this is all very tongue in cheek and not necessarily true. However, if you have phrases that you would like translating then let me know.