This How To Have An Effective Parent-Teacher Conference is written by a parent and a teacher to benefit parents. This article holds the hand of a parent through a parent-teacher conference in hopes of helping the parent achieve everything necessary to benefit their child and family.
If your child attends a school, then you will attend a parent-teacher conference at some point. As a matter of fact, effective communication between parent, teacher, and the student is a leading factor in the success of a child’s school experience. As a teacher and parent, I want to share some tips with you to ensure that your parent-teacher conference is as successful as possible.
Moreover, request a conference if you have something you want to meet about. Sooner is better than later.
Before the Parent-Teacher Conference
Basically, the conference is usually a time when parents and teachers communicate about the child’s progress in the areas of academics and behavior.
- You can ask the teacher if they prefer the student to be present at the conference.
- Without a doubt, bring questions and comments to the conference. Specifically, discuss your topics in order of importance.
- Unquestionably, ask your child if there is anything they want you to ask about or tell their teacher. Add these comments to your notes.
- Choose what you are wearing. All things considered, don’t go to the school with private areas showing, see-through clothes on or a lot of bra showing. Keep your integrity. You don’t want your child being thought of as “the kid with the mom who shows her breast and butt at school.”
Don’t risk it for your child’s sake. Albeit, take the advice or leave it, but if you leave it, don’t be surprised if you’re not taken seriously.
- If you have trouble understanding the language of the teacher, ask ahead of time for a translator to be present.
- You can ask the teacher what coffee or soft drink they prefer and bring them a drink for the conference. Seriously, these people have your child, 5 days a week! A little goes a long way.
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During The Parent-Teacher Conference
**Turn off your phone for the conference!!
- Try your very best to go to all the conferences.
- Use I statements to avoid putting the teacher on the defensive. Instead of, you told the class that or you gave him a 50 on his spelling test...
– I am concerned about…
– I am worried about…
– My heart is saddened because…
- Respectfully, be straightforward and honest with the teacher. Example: My child cries every morning that he doesn’t want to come. My child says she’s bored. My child says ____ makes fun of her hair. I am concerned that there is a substitute every week. I am concerned about the amount of homework.
- Ask about your child’s social and emotional progress.
- Be sure to tell the teacher of any change the child is going through or anything outside of school that may affect the child. Divorce, moving, a new baby, death, Dad’s out of the country for a month, a child is getting glasses, medical conditions. Anything that can affect a child. The sooner the teacher knows, the better.
- Relax and be yourself.
- Thank the teacher for all she does and name specifics about what you appreciate.
- Be on time.
- Because teachers usually hold conferences back to back, be respectful of their time.
- Take notes about everything you want to remember.
- If the teacher has not notified parents of the preferred method of communication, ask about it before you leave the conference, so you can have ongoing communication.
Sample Questions for the Parent-Teacher Conference
Worth noting, you need not ask all these questions. Simply choose some questions genuine to your concerns and think of some questions on your own. Many times, the teacher will cover plenty of academic information. My main purpose below is to inspire your thinking.
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Academic Questions to Ask at a Parent-Teacher Conference
- How often do you work one-on-one or in a small group with my child in reading and math? If they don’t do either in elementary, I’d be concerned no matter the reason.
- If your child is below level, what is being done to get him on grade level? What extra help is he getting? Are tutorials available? What do you do when he doesn’t know? Is there any help I can get him online or hire a tutor? What can we do at home to help bring him up to grade level?
- How do you respond if my child struggles with a lesson?
- If your child is above level, what is being done to challenge my child? What does my child do when he already knows the material that is being taught? How can I challenge him at home?
Behavioral Questions to Ask at a Parent-Teacher Conference
- Do you think my child is trying her best?
- Does my child take part in class discussion or do you have to bring her in?
- How are my child’s test-taking skills?
- What can we do at home to support what he’s doing in class?
- How does my child do when working in groups? How does my child treat others?
- Is there anything that you think I need to know about my child that is going on at school?
- Are there questions you want to ask me about my child?
- What is your perspective on homework?
- What is my child’s attitude? Does she seem energetic? happy? well-rested? involved?
- How does my child handle challenges?
- How creative is my child?
- Do you consider my child a risk taker?
Advocating After the Parent-Teacher Conference
- After the conference, get your thoughts together. What information you share and what information you keep to yourself is completely up to you. Discuss the conference with your child. Go over the positive points and then discuss any issues. Collaborate to make an action plan for how the issues will resolve.
- Talk with the child about any plans you and the teacher created or any suggestions the teacher gave. Decide how the family will carry out their end of the plan.
- Stay in touch with the teacher/s.
- Stay on top of the action plan. Make the child as responsible for the plan as age-appropriate as possible.
Call to Action
I know parents are busy. Be intentional about putting in a little prep into your parent-teacher conference, and I believe you will see how it benefits your child.
Remember that your child has to spend their days with these people, and people have a subconscious. Although we would like to believe that children aren’t treated any differently because of something their parent did or said, I’m sure it happens. If it happens for the positive, then we can assume it happens for the negative. Keep it respectful and communicating sooner is always better than later.
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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS