It’s parents’ weekend this weekend.
What this means is that last night, I met with the parents of day students for about 10-15 minutes apiece, trying to explain how their kid is doing. I have three day students in seventh grade, and three in ninth grade. Only one of these conferences had a chance of going poorly, and I handled that one by going on the attack. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it amounted to…
“Your child has trouble reading. The way she works on assignments suggests that she works really hard to find the answer to the first question, gets frustrated on the second question, and doesn’t bother with the third question. Here is what I can do to work around that — I’ll do my best to trigger her visual memory by showing her images of architecture, art, and technology from the time periods we study. I’ll introduce her to the music of the eras, and show her some of the poetry of the time periods. How else can I help spark her imagination and her ability to visualize the past? What’s she interested in?”
Turns out she’s interested in shoes. That she designs clothes, and does a lot of sketching and drawing. That she keeps a journal, and writes poetry. “So she’ll be interested in calligraphy?” I ask. “Letters as art?”
“And if I spend a day talking about the history of perspective, that will be interesting? and the development of colors?”
This is how you win the parents over. And then you win the students over by going and doing it.