Parent-teacher conferences return in person after 2.5 years


Alexandra Bakker

Grand Haven parents and educators breathed a sigh of relief this week as conferences were able to take place face-to-face for the first time since the pandemic, which caused them to take place over the phone or email. A lot of people found it difficult this way.


“You don’t get to know the teacher when it’s virtual,” parent Elizabeth Butler said. “Having those personal face-to-face conversations is more real. You’re not just guessing what they’re thinking.”


Teachers are also welcoming the return to normal.


“It’s just easier to do in person,” said physical education and guided academics teacher Greg Immink. “Knowing who’s coming and when allows us teachers to prepare and have a better conference.”


Special education teacher Jodi Andrzejewski also welcomes the long-awaited change. She noted the importance of nonverbal communication, like body language and facial expressions, in guiding the meetings.


“If something seems important to a parent, you can pause and take more time with it,” Andrzejewski said. “You can really see the value of being on the same team in trying to help make sure kids are as successful as possible. You miss a lot of that value when it’s all online.”