Last night our school hosted a Year 7 Parent Information night for parents at our school, to explain the Middle Years Program (MYP) which we are doing for the first time this year. there will end up being four of these nights (one per term) and, given my new found passion for this program, I thought I'd go along and see what happened. (It is optional for staff to be there.) It was a great night. First Peter had photocopied some of the essays one of the Year 7 classes had done (with no names) along with the task sheet and the rubric for assessment that the students were given. The parents were then asked to assess them. A great discussion followed about teacher accountability and the use of rubrics as a teaching tool. I definitely think that the parents got to see another side of teaching.
Then Daisy, one of the Maths teachers, taught a class on Fibonacci numbers and Pascal’s triangle as if they, the parents, were her Year 7 class. It was very informative, and definitely a highlight of the night. The parents I spoke to felt that they had learned something. Then Peter showed the report formats that the parents will be getting in June and the criteria that students are assessed and reported on in the MYP. Finally there was a bit of a presentation on homework and how the parents could be involved in helping students organise their time.
I think about the advice I have given students in years past about planning ahead and doing a bit at a time and so on, and I recognise that in my work I don't do that. I leave things to the last minute and feel I do creative work under the pressure of adrenaline. When I try to do it ahead, it feels less powerful and not so motivating. Of course, at the time I am doing it I hate it and wish I had done it earlier. But the students maybe find that sort of pressure too much. It was great to see the parents as creative learners and problem solvers at this meeting and discuss the work we do, and I think there was some mutual understanding built.