Lisa Reiter is writing her memoir and sharing her stories on her blog. She also invites others to join in and share their memories through her Bite Size Memoir prompt. Her prompt of the moment is “Interviews”.
In my role of teacher over the years, I have conducted many parent-teacher interviews, each with varying degrees of pleasure and stress. And that’s just for me! I have also sat on the other side of the desk attending interviews to find out about the progress of my own two children.
I mostly worked with children in their first year of school.
When conducting interviews with parents, particularly at the beginning of the year but at any time, I always invited them to talk first; to tell me their impression of how their child was going, to raise any concerns they had and to ask any questions they wanted answered.
There are a variety of purposes for beginning an interview in this way:
- It gives the parents a voice and acknowledges their importance in the child’s life and education.
- It ensures that any concerns parents have are raised and discussed first, and not left until the end or even missed out in the short time allocated to each interview scheduled on a parent-teacher night.
- It provides an insight into the child’s life and how the attitudes of the parents may affect, or be reflected in, the child’s attitude to school and learning.
Often times I have found that parents share my concerns, and discussing them is easier when raised by the parent. One of the most difficult things is raising and discussing an issue of which the parent is unaware.
Over the years I have found that what parents most want to know is:
Is my child happy?
Is my child well-behaved?
Does my child have friends?
How does my child’s progress compare to that of others?
Prior to the interviews I would make a checklist of things I wished to discuss with each parent, including responses to the queries listed above and any other issues I wished to raise or anecdotes I wished to share, ensuring the positives always outweighed the concerns. I would gather samples of the child’s work to show and have at hand suggestions for ways the parents could continue to help with their children’s learning at home, which generally meant reading to them, talking with them, playing games together and possibly involving them in daily activities such as setting the table, writing shopping lists etc.
But I digress. My purpose in writing this post wasn’t really to talk about parent-teacher interviews, it was to list 10 memories about interviews in response to Lisa’s prompt. Like the parent-teacher interviews, many of them have a link to education.
I remember interviews
- I remember brushing up on my conversational French for an interview as part of my final exam. I remember the interviewer laughing at something “funny” I said. I’m not really sure if he was laughing at what I meant to say, or at what I did say!
- I remember not having an interview for my first teaching position. I was awarded a three-year teaching scholarship which, in return for my training and a small living allowance, “bonded” me to the Education Department for three years.
- I remember agonising for hours over written responses to selection criteria but being unsuccessful in the interviews; and going without preparation to other interviews and scoring the job!
- I remember being interviewed by a policeman after hitting a pedestrian on my way to work one morning. I was horrified to see the teenage girl bounce off the bonnet of my car. Fortunately she wasn’t hurt as I had only just pulled away from traffic lights, but we were both rather shaken up. She was only a few metres from a pedestrian crossing (also with lights) and the policeman said if anyone was to be charged it would be her. I wish she hadn’t been so impatient. I still worry about the unpredictability of pedestrians on the side of the road.
- I remember being interviewed by police after our car was stolen. I was so upset I couldn’t remember the registration number. After it was stolen a second time, we got rid of it!
- I remember being interviewed by the police after our house was burgled and giving them a list of items that had been stolen. The most surprising one was a big screen TV. Big in 1999 is not the same as big in 2014. It went as far out the back as it did across and weighed a ton. How they got it out of the house and down the steep driveway without being seen I’ll never know; or even why they did, as newer technology was on its way and it wouldn’t have been worth much to resell.
The media (Note: You are neither expected nor required to watch any of the videos included in this section. They are simply for my amusement and learning.)
- I remember being interviewed by the local paper when offering sessions to assist parents help their children read.
- I remember being interviewed on Radio on the morning of the Family Day Picnic for the year of the family in 1994.
- I remember being interviewed on a local community television station. I was invited to talk about the alternative school I was setting up. (I haven’t found the footage yet, but below is a response given to a question about self-esteem at a publicity meeting. Apologies for the amateur quality.)
- I remember being interviewed at school about keeping butterflies in the classroom, twice: each time for different programs and different television studios.
Just as an aside, at about the same time that I was being interviewed about butterflies for the program “Totally Wild”, Bec was also being interviewed at school for the same program. She is proud to say that the times she appeared on that program numbered three to my one! Not long afterwards she appeared on the news a couple of in anti-war rallies!
Of course, not all interviews occur face-to-face. Interviews can take place online too. During the 15 months that I have been blogging I have passed on a number of awards asking people to answer questions. This post is a compilation of the answers given to my interview questions by my first nominees.
Thanks, Lisa, for this opportunity to take a walk down memory lane.
Thank you readers. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post.