With upcoming conferences, I wanted to share some thoughts about how to feel prepared and comfortable at parent/teacher conferences.
Conferences are a wonderful time to create a partnership and gain insight regarding your child. Conducting effective parent-teacher conferences can boost family involvement in your classroom and help promote positive outcomes for you, your students, and your school.
To make sure they’re successful for both parents and teachers, we’ve come up with a list of what educators would like parents to know!
1. Show up, please!
We understand parents are busy, but it is important to carve out time to invest in your child’s education and ensure success at school! To get the most out of parent-teacher conferences, parents need to take an active role in their child’s education year-round and come prepared to discuss how their child can reach their full potential.
2. Talk With Your Child
Ask your child what his/her strongest and weakest subjects are, and which subjects he/she likes most and least. Ask your child if he/she would like you to speak about anything particular with the teacher. Make sure that your child understands that you and the teacher are meeting to help him so that he doesn’t worry about the conference.
3. Prepare A List of Notes/Questions
Make a list of topics that you want to discuss with the teacher and that you think the teacher should know, such as your concerns about the school, the child’s home life, any major changes in your family, habits, part-time jobs, religious holidays, or anything that is worrying your child. Be sure to ask for input from your spouse or other adults that are caring for your child as well.
4. Ask The Most Important Questions First
Remember that you only have a short time. Try to cover your most important questions and concerns first. (Use your list of questions)
But try not to worry if you don’t get to everything. You can still ask for a follow-up meeting with the teacher to discuss anything you couldn’t get to. And if you don’t understand something the teacher says, ask for an explanation!
5. Update Your Child
Talk to your child about what happened. It’s important to share anything positive that you and the teacher discussed. But it’s also important not to shy away from your problems or challenges. If there are next steps, make sure your child knows what they are.
6. Figure Out Next Steps
Save a few minutes at the end of the conference for next steps. Depending on what you’ve talked about, here’s what you might suggest:
- Staying in touch
- In-class help
- School services
7. Follow Up
If you and the teacher agreed on next steps, follow up in the next week or so to see how things are working out. It’s useful to have check-ins before the next conference. At each check-in, ask for an update, but also be ready to share what you’ve been doing on any action steps.
Although parent teacher conferences are short, they’re a good time to learn more about your child’s school experience!