Parents evenings with a difference.

Parents evenings in schools in the UK could be tense affairs especially if you needed to address issues concerning the behaviour of several students. Depending on whether you taught a subject up to A-Level, you could be required to partake in six such evenings in a year. Thanks to OFSTED’s limitless demands for numbers on spreadsheets, parents would know, from reports, what national curriculum level their child was working in your subject. While most parents were also a little nervous but generally amicable, some parents wanted you to give them gloat-ready statistics and phrases that they would put on Facebook. Others seemed to have come for a fight.

Parent teacher conferences at Grace International school bear no comparison at all. Two working days, including an evening, at the end of the first quarter, are assigned to these conferences. This allows for parents to return from their field of service in China, Mongolia, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos , Cambodia or other parts of Thailand to meet with teachers and spend the half term break with their families. Teachers are treated to  a wonderful meal, prepared by  parents who live in Chiang Mai, at the end of the first 10 hour session.

I met parents who have spent most of their lives working among minority Muslim groups in China, I met doctors working with Karen, Hmong and Luo and Shan hill tribes. I conversed with parents seeking to run businesses in Cambodia and Laos through which they can finance church planting and gospel work. Finding out about their ministries and praying with these people both for the child and the wider family  was as important as relating their child’s academic progress. Many parents affirmed that they could not do what they do without being confident that their child was in good hands at Grace.

In Colossians 1:6 Paul rejoices that ‘. . .the gospel is bearing fruit and growing.’  Despite, decline in the ‘western world’, two days of parent teacher conferences, here in Chiang Mai prove this to be as  true in 2016 as it was in 66AD.