Let’s Make In-Person Conferences An Option

I share my screen, rapidly read my slides with no clue how my teachers are reacting to my words, and stop the screen-sharing. And then, there comes an awkward silence.

I think to myself, “Would this be different if parent-teacher conferences met in person?”

As someone who struggles to reflect on my learning process honestly and directly, parent-teacher conferences that are meant to specifically discuss those topics become even harder when conferences are on Zoom.

Conferences had to be through Zoom during the pandemic, but now that masks aren’t required and things are going back to “normal,” why were this fall’s conferences on Zoom?

Vice Principal Helen Kim saw that online conferences were easier to schedule with parents’ busy schedules. Yes, conferences held online are convenient but is it the best way for everyone? Could there be an option to have conferences in person for students who prefer that?

And what about parents too? I’ve heard my mom apologize to me for not being comfortable enough to ask questions during conferences for my entire high school career so far.

“It’s just not the same,” she tells me, explaining that she would be more comfortable if she were meeting teachers in person.

Conferences can be a good place to develop confidence in talking with teachers at tough moments, or about sensitive topics like mental health that can affect learning. The fear of my teachers not understanding my words, and the fact that it was on Zoom where others at home could hear what I said, prevented me from discussing my deepest concerns.

If meeting on Zoom causes unnecessary stress, it defeats the purpose of conferences. My request: Make in-person conferences an option next February, when we all have the chance to do this again – and the chance to make it better.