Parent-Teacher-Student evenings this term had a different flavor for many of us as teachers. A reasonably high fraction of our meetings, 21%, were held with students bearing their laptops and introducing their parents to us over the internet. Connectivity rarely seemed to be an issue and once the initial strangeness of the process was behind us, a natural conversation ensued.
Many parents welcomed the opportunity to use technology to circumvent the considerable time and cost of attending in person. Both teacher and parent were able to achieve that well known “pincer” manoeuvre of having the student articulate what is going well in class and where improvements could be made. This feedback to students, combined with parental insight, has always made Parent-Teacher-Student meetings very significant. Action items aside and resolutions to attend extra help sessions notwithstanding, the meetings transcend mere progress reports. The connection established with parents and the recognition of the fact that this Brentwood experience is a shared endeavor always motivates me as a teacher to get to know my students on a deeper level and to bring the best out of them at every opportunity.
In this regard, I felt that there was nothing “lost in translation” by using technology. I hope the experience was as positive for those parents who met their child’s teachers using this format.