This July we had our first Parents’ Teachers’ Meet for our students for the academic year 2016-17. However, we decided to have this first meeting where we wouldn’t share any progress with the parents but rather, let the students talk about their experiences in ALF. It was a meeting which was mostly led by our students.
We started the meeting with some of our 9th graders welcoming the parents and sharing their experience with us for the last one year. Aarti and Akanksha, and Shofiya and Yogeeta were the hosts for their respective groups. They spoke in Hindi and English. Then we had Shirisha, Soni, Delcis and Sneha who shared about the progress they made in ALF in improving their English language skills. This was followed by Shaheen, Lavaniya, Sumaiya and Jui speaking about the values they had learnt by doing their leadership projects last year. Kajal, Sushmita, Shraddha and Gauri talked about one subject area that they liked and how they enjoyed learning it in ALF.
In the second part of the meeting, we had the students share their heart maps with their parents. After sharing their heart maps, the students talked about one piece of academic work that they had done in ALF or school that they were really proud of. For the last task of the day, the parents and students were divided in smaller groups where the parents were encouraged to share one activity they do with their child which they enjoy. The students ended the meeting with presenting their parents with a ‘thank you’ card for showing their gratitude towards all the support that their parents had provided for them.
In this course of the meeting, many parents and students got emotional and expressed their feelings by crying and sharing their thoughts with each other. This made us realise that, as educators, it is really important to create spaces for parents and students to share their feelings and thoughts with each other to help build a healthy and a strong bond between them. In many cases, the parents work very hard throughout the day and they find it difficult to spend time with their children and talk about their own interests or learn about their children’s interests. Understanding that, we teachers, can play an important role in facilitating those conversations which will help our students in the future to continue getting support from their families and build a healthy self-esteem.
This meeting provided an opportunity for the parents to learn more about who their children are as individuals and what they really care about. Many parents and students came to thank us for providing this space where they could have these meaningful conversations.
We hope that these conversations can be sustained between the families and we keep finding more opportunities to strengthen this.
Here are some snippets from the meeting: