Once each semester, Kelly Walsh High Schools urges parents to come in on a set date, time, and place. Teachers and parents sit down to have a productive conversation about a student, their well- being, and their scholastic abilities. Parent- Teacher conferences are universal to all students; many schools are victim to implementing this seemingly important meeting into their academic calendars. These types of meetings can be referred to as a waste of time, while others may consider them imperative. Are parent- teacher conferences really effective or beneficial to students, parents, and teachers?
For many students– and even parents– these relatively short conferences are commonly regarded as useless. High school may even embody this concept, as parent teacher conferences become optional as students enter.
Claire Kemme, a sophomore, shared her opinion on whether the conferences matter.
“I feel as kids get older they should be in charge of their own schooling, not their parents. I understand elementary kids, but not high school. It’s not like you have parent- teacher conferences in college.”
According to Deseret News, out of a population of 5,000 people surveyed (2,500 teachers; 2,500 parents) 81% of parents said they attend parent teacher conferences; however, the teachers surveyed said only 56% of parents attend. The discrepancies in the data speak for themselves. While the concept of parent- teacher conference may be appealing to parents in theory, the amount who actually show up to them is sparse.
Paul Kasza, a science teacher at Kelly Walsh High School, said “The conferences are important but mostly for the students who are struggling in classes. Generally speaking, for the kids who are doing fine, I mean who cares? Goob job! Don’t go to the meetings.”
Even though the common consensus is that these meetings are not worth it, there are some who think differently.
Karsen Jump, a senior, said “Yes, I think they are important. It helps parents connect to their kids’ schooling and it’s always good to keep up with their life. I think sometimes they can be boring, but I really think that it is important to have a minute to just check up on kids and make sure they are doing okay in school.”
The argument still stands. Are parent- teacher conferences really important? Education Week blogger Nancy Flanagan offers a solution to this question. Flanagan proposes letting students lead the conferences and provides examples of prompts for the meeting, such as: do more than talk about grades, let students share their experiences in school, share stories of what each student does in class, keep communicating and ask parents how they would like to stay in touch.
The many differing opinions on this topic will continue to circulate in discussion– but for now, students, teachers, and parents will just have to continue to push through these once-a-semester meetings.