Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is how it begins

We had our first parent-teacher conference last week and received her first trimester report card. There were no surprises.

This week, Iris came home with another copy of her report card and a blank 'contract'. Her homework assignment was for us to work together to pick areas to strengthen, propose a remedy, write down a deadline for meeting her objectives, and her desired reward for meeting those objectives.

She's eight years old and in fourth grade.

I find this very unsettling, but I signed it anyway.


  1. Wow. So I guess she'll be ready for performance reviews when she hits the working world, huh?

    I find performance review writing to be one of the hardest things about being a manager. I wonder if I'll find it easier or harder when I'm coming up with areas of improvement for my kid?

  2. Anonymous07:55

    Oh, that's bad... Although I suppose the "desired reward" is probably better than anything I would get in the workforce.

  3. She wrote down ice cream without hesitation. She clarified that the whole family has to go out for ice cream together. Sounds good to me. I hope she meets her objective.

  4. This is beginning t happen in English schools too.

  5. Lisa Delpit has an interesting and provocative argument against this kind of thing (and all pedagogies based on "process"). In lower grades especially, she wants to see kids told what to do. She believes that the process/ goal-setting-conference method is racist. It privileges parents who are already passing on the necessary skills to their kids, and leaves behind those kids whose parents aren't equipped to fill out and stick to a contract.

    I agree with her in every way. Many of us parents may be willing to help, but teachers should set a standard. At the very least, they should tell us what to help with.