It’s Parent-Teacher Conference time and everyone is wringing their hands worrying over how far behind students are because of the pandemic. Worries and concerns are gobbling up a lot of our precious energy. Not to mention, it’s taking up a lot of headspace with its relentless doomsday story. What if just for Parent/Teacher Conferences we put the worry aside? Then, what would we have more room for? Here are three tips that can help you park the worry and leave room to see a bright future.
I Like You, You Like Me – Say this to yourself right before conferences. Just repeating this to yourself will bring a sense of calm to the meeting. Our brain has mirror neurons that are always on duty. Your energy is mirrored to others and theirs is mirrored to you. Imagine the disaster when two worry-warts are mirroring each other’s emotions. The best way to help a student, is to help them feel safe. So, their safety net, parents and teachers, have to feel safe and secure so they can mirror that to each other and to the student.
Share the students’ strengths – If the teacher and the parent each share three strengths they see in the student, the foundation for a partnership for student success is well on its way. It also moves both parent and teacher out of the zone of their negativity bias. The brains of humans are wired to look for what’s going wrong in order to feel safe. The pathway of the brain that runs the negativity bias doesn’t know that it needs to check the “not applicable” box for parent-teacher conferences.
Play Offense not Defense – With all the stress and exhaustion these days, the conditions are ripe for being reactive and going on the defensive. A simple acknowledgment to yourself of your emotional state will lessen the chance of personalizing and reacting to what is discussed.
It might not feel like it, but we do have a choice here. We can continue to worry and send our kids a doomsday message that they will never dig their way out, or we can make sure they have the right tools, the adults in their lives, as positive supports, to get the job done.
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