Student Led

Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one running this race

The sunlight trickles in as the ceiling fan keeps things moving

D leans her ear into the crook of her elbow as she retells her story

A and mum spar playfully, not sure which piece to feature

S and mum are quiet. Too quiet

L peeks out the window, composing herself or lost in thought, as she pulls out her next selection to share

Joburg, Delhi, Accra, Kanagawa, Amsterdam, Beirut, Barranquilla

Hindi, Dutch, Japanese, Arabic, Urdu, Spanish

They all make an appearance, and I’m struck by what has come together, here

I sit, removed. Present, but not. Equal parts confident and tense. Reminding myself

It’s not a sprint

It’s a marathon

First and foremost, student led conferences are an opportunity to reflect, celebrate, and look forward together. Portfolios are a work in progress that will be added to as the year moves forward. They are meant to show off examples of effort and areas of growth, not perfection. After a quick hello to your teachers, your child will take the lead. Thanks, see you at your child’s conference!

I chuckle at this paragraph, rewriting it in my mind.

First and foremost, these conferences are an opportunity for your teacher to question his competence. Portfolios are unmercifully imperfect, like teaching. Your teacher will be in the room for these conferences, nervously attempting to overhear your conversations. Please be sure to share any concerns about your child’s teachers with the parents around you and the greater community. Thanks, see you at your child’s conference!

Ok, sometimes I find myself running to irrational places.

It’s tough to imagine a career choice laced with more self-doubt than teaching.

But I know self-doubt will come, and go. And it makes its appearance less frequently, with time, and experience. So, I make a choice. To focus on what’s good. To put my faith in good little human beings, who come from good bigger human beings.

I soak up the smiles, the great energy. The partnerships in front of me that provide clear proof

I’m not running this race alone

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

Join the Conversation


  1. I enjoyed reading the revised note to parents with your anxious thoughts instead of the one you really sent. It was fun to read the places and the languages listed out loud. Thanks for sharing the vulnerability of teaching so elegantly. I like the last line that reminds us all that it takes a village.


  2. What an amazing slice. I like what you did with the inserted passages sharing two different perspectives. Teachers live with self doubt often, but this is quite unfair as time goes so fast. A headteacher once used these phrases; “Hit the floor running” and “Start as you mean to go.” It is all easier said than done. I am glad you end on a positive note, ” I’m not running this race alone.” Can I add this well known African , “It takes a village to raise a child.”


  3. Ha! I liked the second note that you wrote. I both enjoy and dislike conferences for all of those reasons. I love student-led conferences, because I like hearing what the students have learned. It’s fun to see that we have, in fact, learned a lot this year, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: