Conferences: A Time to Pause, Celebrate and Reflect
Elizabeth Matlick, Writing and English Language Learning

It’s not yet Thanksgiving, but celebrations are on my mind. It might be because of our Halloween fun here on the Ridge, which felt so wonderful compared with the on-screen Halloween of 2020. Or it might be because the weather has given way to winter cold and rain.

I also think it’s because of our recent parent-student-teacher conferences. For as long as I’ve taught at FR, we’ve begun these conferences with celebrations. Our agenda begins with each participant celebrating something about the student we’re there to discuss. It could be her diligence, her academic progress, or her unique humor, wisdom or kindness.

Whatever it is, these celebrations are so important. They are a testament to how we strive to know each other and focus on the good. After taking part in Forest Ridge conferences for more than a decade now, I can’t imagine a conversation about student growth happening any other way.

A students goals for herself helps us brainstorm ways she can get her work done more efficiently. A student’s kind heart might help us address her goal of showing kindness to herself, too, by sharing her voice more in class discussions. This is also a way to guide a student toward acting from a place of strength. We all want to become better learners and better humans, and we’re convinced that it starts with optimism and celebrations about where we are right now. 

Together, we’re navigating the ups and downs that come with being back at school. In the process, it’s important to remember that we’ll never really arrive at that perfect score or perfect lesson, that this is all a work-in-progress. This season, I want to celebrate that.