These conferences lasted for two days that I had been slightly nervous about; not knowing what was in store for me. I must tell you, that standing on the other side of these PT conferences I feel absolutely encouraged, supported, and refreshed. IS THAT NORMAL? I did say PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES, RIGHT? I honestly have NEVER enjoyed parent/teacher conferences as much as I did in these past two days. The parents were great listeners to my thoughts and ideas, but they also gave helpful insights and asked fabulous questions about how we could help their students continue to learn and grow together. Many of them simply arrived saying that they wanted to meet their children’s teacher to say thank you! I was taken by complete and utter surprise. There is nothing more affirming to me than hearing a parent say, “Wow, you really know my son!” or “I am so glad my daughter is in your class!” Every time a parent affirmed me, I repeating, “Well, PTL for all for that!” because my success is only because of him.
Another entertaining part of PT conferences was observing the habits, vocal tendencies, vocal remarks, and facial expressions reflected in the parents, that I have come to know so well and recognize in my students! It makes me wonder how much of MY parents others see in me!
It is really such a blessing too, to have parents from all over the world come into my classroom. Hong Kong, Belgium, Canada, US, South Korea, Mexico, and more! I was introduced to a lot of cultural etiquette from these meetings. Such as, handing things (like a progress report) with two hands to a Korean parent OR giving only a light handshake with Chinese parents (definitely forgot that one multiple times) OR being aware of the fact that Belgians often repeat names back to each other when meeting for the first time... Plus, I also had a number of meetings with parents where we had a translator present. I truly believe speaking through a translator is one of the best ways to learn eye contact, patience, and lots of understanding toward others! Meeting my students’ mothers and fathers really instilled in me a rejuvenated fire to continue teaching these kids to the best of my ability, using all the gifts and talents my Father has been gracious enough to bestow upon me.
I p—y—ed (multiple times) before these conferences and asked that my words, more than anything, would be wise and helpful. I also asked that glory would be brought to heaven through these meetings, as I sought to better serve my students and their families. My Father answered that plea ten-fold and I find myself in awe of His faithfulness.
UPCOMING EVENTS AND PRs
Next week, November 2 through 5, I — and four other chaperones — will be travelling with 30 some students north to Tianjin, China for a high school spiritual retreat. I will miss Thursday and Friday of class and we will be meeting up with a bunch of other students from our sister schools located throughout China. The retreat was created nine years ago and is almost completely student led. The students share the message(s), they lead in worship, mentorship, and we are there mainly as observers of safety and advisors of focus/direction... but we are in no way in charge. I ask for p—y—r for great spiritual growth among our teens on this trip, wisdom and insight for our student leaders, and soft hearts for those going for the first time (some of whom may not have a professed relationship with Father). Safety and health remain imperative concerns, and maybe, if you think of it, throw a Word for everyone’s sleep and energy throughout (and especially after the late-night return Sunday with school on Monday).
P.S. Because of this retreat, there will also be no blog post next Saturday! So, look forward to a post in two weeks with lots of pictures and stories!
This picture was not taken by me.