Lengthy five-minute conferences allow parents to dig deep into student experience [satire]


Aidan Marks

English teacher Tiffany Joseph mentally prepares herself for over eight hours of conferences across Thursday and Friday.

Last week, BSM parents had the opportunity to check in with their students’ teachers during parent-teacher conferences. Marketed as an opportunity to inform parents of their students’ progress and generally make sure they are staying on track, conferences (better known as a “performance review” in the corporate world) often double as a critical period of parent-student negotiation and are also frequently used to mediate family relations. This year, BSM implemented an innovative new format that, according to an anonymous poll conducted by the Marks Center for Academic Research, resulted in record satisfaction among teachers and parents.

Parent-teacher conferences are a tested and proven method of communication at BSM. These lengthy, five-minute meetings provide a unique and informative experience that allow for parents to really dig deep and discuss their student’s needs with teachers. Likewise, teachers are able to offer a thorough and well-informed opinion on a given student’s progress. English teacher Jane Doe explains that even though the sheer number of students she teaches can initially seem overwhelming, she feels fully prepared to provide a comprehensive analysis of students’ performances by the time conferences roll around. “By the fifth week of school, I really feel like I’ve gotten to know each of my 60-70 students on a personal level,” Doe said.

By the fifth week of school, I really feel like I’ve gotten to know each of my 60-70 students on a personal level, Doe said.

— Jane Doe

Parents aren’t the only winners here. Often, conferences serve as a critical mediation between students and parents that can mean the difference between, say, video game privileges and an allowance, or in extreme circumstances, even second semester tuition. For some, the stakes are high, and this serves as added motivation to perform well in school. “By this point, I’ve realized that I really only have to do well through the first quarter. Once conferences are out of the way, my parents stop caring so much [about my grades]. And frankly, so do I,” senior James Doe said.

The Marks Center for Academic Research found that conferences consistently rank in teachers’ top three events throughout the year. Further analysis found that teachers’ reasons for enjoying conferences differ dramatically from year to year: teachers with good classes subconsciously enjoy talking about how well their students perform/behave, while teachers with bad classes find ranting about unruly students to have substantial therapeutic benefits. “Conferences are a rare opportunity for me to really express my feelings. Parents are always really understanding and I think their validation of my opinions is really important to me,” Doe said.

This year, BSM’s new approach took conferences to a whole new level. Instead of hosting conferences completely in-person or completely virtual, BSM combined these two approaches to offer the best of both worlds: Thursday afternoon was in-person by appointment, while Friday was virtual. This approach allowed parents to choose which version they felt most comfortable with, and was also 117% more efficient than previous versions. Overall, teachers and parents alike couldn’t have asked for more. “This year’s conferences were the best by far. I love meeting parents in-person, but I also miss the comfort of Zoom from my own home. It was the best of both worlds,” math teacher John Doe said.