Just like a football team gathers together mid-game to check-in and make adjustments, so too should parents and teachers huddle to quickly confirm how things are going and make any modifications to the plan created during parent teacher conferences.
A few weeks after the conference is a good time for the huddle. In order to make the most of this short time together, it is a good idea to send a note or e-mail in advance asking for a convenient time to stop by or call. By doing this, you are helping to set this team up for success. It allows the teacher to go over any material you may have provided and think of any specific questions or situations to share. Also, it gives you the chance to prepare as well.
You will also want to ask your child her/his thoughts and feelings about how the plan is (or isn’t) working. You will want to elicit specific reasons or examples so that you can accurately represent your child and so that the information is clear to all members of the team. It helps to know that your child “doesn’t like it.” However, if the plan created dealt with using a homework notebook and bringing everything home, it would be helpful to prod and find out the specific problem. A simple “Why don’t you like it?” might reveal that the textbooks are too heavy, there isn’t enough time at the end of the day to write everything down, the small notebook gets lost easily, or something entirely different. It is important to get to the bottom of it, so that helpful adjustments can be made. Similarly, if your child says that everything is going well, it would be great to know why that is so.
While your child is talking to you, take a few notes. When you are finished, add any questions or ideas that might have come up during the few weeks of the plan implementation. This way you won’t forget the most important ideas.
Keep in mind that this is a huddle, so it is going to be short. This is not meant to be another parent teacher conference. It is just a quick follow up to let the teammates communicate and adjust the plan.
During the conversation with the teacher, share your notes. It will be interesting to trade pieces of information. Remember to ask the teacher if s/he has any questions about the material you left at the parent teacher conference. After a few minutes the team will have a better idea of the whole picture. Then, together you can decide to make some adjustments or allow a little more time to practice the routine.
When you are done, be sure to thank the teacher for her/his efforts and time and leave information about the best way to communicate with you should there be a need for another huddle before the end of term.
Following up after a parent teacher conference is the best way to find out whether the plan created is working for all parties and it also shows your child that this team of people cares about and wants the best for her/him. By following the above guidelines, you will be able to make the most of your huddle time. Ready, Break!