New and, Maybe, Improved Parent Teacher Conferences

The yearly parent teacher conferences looked different than years past. But, what was the response of teachers and parents to this change?

Ian Lebano and Brennan Offshack

Malvern has had to mold themselves around COVID-19 restrictions just like many other schools and businesses around the country. Everything has seemed to move smoothly.

In years past, at the end of each quarter, semester or trimester parent teacher conferences took place. It was a full day schedule when some parents and students would show up for scheduled meetings with their current teachers.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed that yet another school function had to change its old ways to adapt to the times. Mr. Sillup, Head of Upper School Academics, shared feedback he received from faculty and parents on how the conferences went.

“The feedback I have right now is largely qualitative.” Sillup shared. “The overarching sense I got from a teacher’s perspective was they enjoy the ability to create their own schedule, so that it could fit with the demands of their own time.” 

Mrs. Giordani, 9th Grade Academy Leader and freshman english teacher, shared her views as well on how the conferences went.

This year’s virtual parent conferences were great! I thought it was actually easier than when we have them on campus simply because they could be scheduled at any point in the day for multiple days.” Giordani said, “Faculty and parents were able to space out their conversations in a way that was relaxing and unforced. Plus, we could quickly schedule a face-to-face meeting at any point, without parents having to clear extra time into the schedules to drive to Malvern.”

Instead of the one day of the week for conferences that had a constant rush and tight schedule, this year it was more of a week time frame. Teachers had the ability to send out their open times for parents to sign up within those designated spots. 

Sillup gave some feedback on what the parents had said; “From a parent perspective, I felt that they seemed to enjoy the idea that it wasn’t just one fixed day. So all the travel time was cut down. The parents could go on MyMalvern and use that one stop shop with the virtual directory and work accordingly.”

While there seemed to be much upside to these new and improved conferences, there was one thing that faculty wasn’t very fond of. Sillup had brought to mind that, “It may be a lot harder if I don’t know you that well or you feel like you don’t know me that well. Sometimes with parents it can be nice to be in the same space to just have that connection. Yes, so that is a deficit to this.”

Both Sillup and Giordani shared that they “missed the physical, face-to-face interactions” however, they expressed how the meetings still ran smoothly and efficiently.

Malvern has always been looking forward to the future and finding ways to incorporate technology and adapt to the times we are in. Fortunately it seems as though Malvern has been able to adapt to these needed changes. Being virtual has brought a new way for parent teacher conferences to work in coming years.