Parent Teacher Conferences
Nerves can be high for the parents, teachers, and the child. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you prepare for the conference.
Before attending the conference, prepare yourself:
- Ask your child if there are any issues he/she would like for you to discuss with the teacher.
- Make a list of the topics you would like to bring up, so that you will stay focused and accomplish your goal.
- Clear your schedule so you can arrive early and be prepared to wait, not every conference takes the same amount of time.
- Have something positive in mind to begin the conference; nobody likes to begin a meeting with conflict.
During the conference, keep these ideas in mind for a successful meeting:
- Be a good listener. Bring paper to jot down the key points the teacher makes about your child so you can communicate the accurate information with him/her later.
- Remember that you and the teacher make up two-thirds of a team. You are working together to help your child, so share ideas and come up with a common goal to help your child succeed.
- Let your guard down. You’re not the only one that might be nervous for the meeting. Your child’s teacher will have conferences with several families, fluctuating from positive to less than pleasant. Each conference is different, but if you approach it from a positive angle, it will put the teacher at ease and ready to be open-minded.
- Close by expressing your gratitude to the teacher for the time and effort spent with your child and the others in the class. Show appreciation for the job; it’s not an easy one.
5 Must-Ask Questions
- What skills and knowledge will my child be expected to master this year?
- How will my child be evaluated?
- What can I do to stay more involved in my child’s academic progress?
- How do you accommodate differences in learning?
- How are older students prepared for learning after high school?
After the conference, you can begin working with your child to support their school year:
- Use the notes you took to build a framework for the discussion with your child. It is important that he/she feels just as much involvement in addressing the issues as you and the teacher.
- Follow- up on the issues after the conference. Send a quick note or email to the teacher a week or so after the conference. You can express your thanks again, and update him/her about the progress you have made at home. Inquire about the progress shown at school.
- Set goals and an action plan with your child. Take what was discussed in the conference and create attainable goals for you and your child. Make a regular appointment to evaluate how this process is going with your child. Make adjustments as needed. Holding your child accountable to his/her academic success is important so he/she understands that the learning must be accomplished by him/her, with assistance from you and the teacher.
Parent-Teacher Conference Kit from Family Education
Making P/T Conferences Work for Your Child from PTA
Making the Most of Your Teacher Conference from Scholastic
Making the Most of Your P/T Conference- Survival Strategies by Great Schools
Dr. Spock's the school years: the emotional and social development of children by Benjamin Spock
First grade success: everything you need to know to help your child learn by Amy James (there are several in this series)
Meet the teacher: how to help your child navigate elementary school : a common sense guide for parents by Betty Borowski
The Mom book goes to school: insider tips to ensure your child thrives in elementary and middle school by Stacy DeBroff
The new public school parent: how to get the best education for your elementary school child by Bob Chase
The school-savvy parent: 365 insider tips to help you help your child by Rosemarie Clark
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