Reflections of a Student-Led Conference

Emotional Day

This time of year is one that allows educators to enjoy and reflect upon the changes that come with the season and determine what is going on in their classrooms. Many educators speak of reflection and how it drives change. However, reflection often requires transparency in order to allow moments to reemerge. Then we can celebrate, or make the necessary modifications to take our young scholars to the next level.

As an educator that has a few strands of gray hair on her head, I’ve intentionally kept these mantras ringing in my head, “How are you growing?” and “What’s still a practice worth holding onto and fighting for?” I have always taken deliberate steps to keep up with ever changes that occur in education. In my mind, the trick is deciphering between gimmick and true quality practice that will promote the true growth of my scholars.

A couple of months ago, my former Assistant Principal posted an article on student-led conferences. I read the article and made a commitment to run my mandatory conferences in this manner. Did I go to it without much thought, or inquiry? Of course not; I over analyze every bit of my teaching. When it comes to my students, it is serious business!

The first day of student-led conferences is now complete. I celebrate the achievement and success that has occurred thus far. Each and every scholar, no matter of the level, was required to take out all notebooks and folders to discuss the learning that has occurred this past month.

One particular student-led conference that has imprinted my heart forever happens to wear proudly the title of ELL Learner! This student is very shy and expressed concerns about participating in a student-led conference.

When this scholar entered the classroom with parent and sibling, I asked that my reader and writer reach for their notebooks. The scholar knew that this was to occur but still looked at me with a look of horror. With notebooks in tow, my scholar sat at the table. I opened up the conference with words of praise and then my reader and writer took over!

Each notebook was reviewed by working through each section. As my scholar spoke, shoulders begin to push back, and the scholar’s body started to rise with pride, empowerment, and infinite passion about the work that had been accomplished.

The scholar’s parent and sibling listened intently, and were filled with pride as they listened to their scholar describe the learner’s products. The learner also talked about the challenges and how they were overcome.

Questions that still lingered in my scholar’s mind were voiced, but were quickly followed up with a plan of attack.

As they walked out of room 32, I realized that educators should always be open to ramping up their PLN! Student-led conferences are a must for this Blue Jay! Tweet-tweet!

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