I don't know if it's because I am in the middle of my dissertation work and so I am thinking about getting to know families better or if more experience under my belt makes me more comfortable in talking with parents, but this year I got a lot of below the line info at conferences that really makes me feel like I can understand certain students better. Parents were open and shared with me and for the first time I think I felt more comfortable to probe a little and ask questions. I always fear that asking questions about what they do for a job or who cares for the child after school is going too far, yet truly it helps me get a better picture of the lives my students live.
A few interesting tidbits...
- one student lives in a hotel
- one student has a mom that does Mixed Martial Arts fighting
- one student's dad is Santa Claus (well he is like Santa Claus because he drives a delivery truck for a big company and works extra hours during the holiday season to make sure packages are delivered on time)
- one student has a mother that is getting married soon
- 2 students have moms that are currently working on degrees and they study at night and take courses online
- 2 moms are daycare providers/nannies so they can be home with their kids
Knowing these little things about parents helps me understand my kiddos better and certainly helps me feel more connected to my students and their parents. I definitely want to continue making those types of connections with students and their families because it feels good!