Parent-teacher conferences may not be the most fun meetings, but they are essential to your children’s education. The parent-teacher conference can be an efficient tool to communicate with your child’s teacher. However, do you ever find yourself confused on what to say or what questions to ask? If you have, join the rest of us. Unfortunately, there’s not a book written to help us at parent-teacher conferences. However, we’ve outlined some tips below to make your parent-teacher conferences as effective as possible.
Show Up Early: Arrive for your parent conference at least 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Teachers often have back-to-back conferences and aren’t always able to keep to the schedule. Please be patient! If you have questions or concerns about your child’s education, contact the teacher right away. Instead of waiting for your kiddos teachers to reach out, go ahead and schedule a conference! Children perform best in school when their parents are involved in their kid’s education.
Positive Attitudes: Parents should recognize that most teachers are hardworking, caring educational professionals who toil for little pay. Complaining, whining or taking your child’s word against the teacher during a conference is not going to be productive. That doesn’t mean you can’t address issues you have – just do so kindly!
Make Your Points: Don’t leave the conference without getting to discuss your top concern. Let the teacher run the meeting but ensure in that meeting you have an opportunity to express your primary issue. You have a right to question, offer up suggestions, and play a part in their education!
Speak Clearly: Telling a child that he/she is “not working up to his/her potential” or “he/she is behaving in an immature manner” provides little direction as to what the child needs to do to improve. During the conference try to answer the question, “What does it look like?” For example, “Billy must remain in his seat during the entire math period.” Or, “Billy will complete his seat work on time.”
Make a Plan: Once the goals are concretely defined, the parent and teacher must decide what they will do to achieve the stated objectives. For example, The teacher will praise Billy when he remains in his seat or raises his hand. If Billy fails to complete a piece of homework the teacher, that day will have Billy redo that work during recess or after school. The parent will reinforce Billy with praise and tokens toward a fun experience when Billy brings home a good paper or test. The parent will consistently enforce a routine in which Billy completes his homework to earn access to “electronics.”
Follow Up: Set a date to communicate, by phone or email, to discuss your child’s progress. If the child needs more help, set another appointment. It’s always a great idea to keep up with your kiddos education.
Parent-teacher conferences exist to create a relationship between the two. Both parents and teachers are working towards a common goal and that should never be forgotten. What are some of your favorite tips for parent-teacher conferences? Let us know in the comments below!