Preparing for a Parent-Teacher Conference

Source: one tough job

Studies show that when parents are involved in their children’s education they generally have higher grades, better attendance and self-esteem, and higher graduation rates. One way to be involved in your child’s education is to attend parent–teacher conferences. A good parent-teacher conference is a two-way conversation between you and your child’s teacher to discuss your child’s progress, his unique needs and strengths, and to strategize ways, both at home and in the classroom, that will help support your child’s continued learning.

A good parent-teacher conference is a two-way conversation between you and your child’s teacher to discuss your child’s progress, his unique needs and strengths, and to strategize.

Parent-teacher conferences are often time limited. Preparing in advance can help you maximize this important time with your child’s teacher. Here are some tips to help you prepare so you can make the most of these meetings:

  • Schedule an appointment. Many schools host parent-teacher conferences a few times during the year; however, you can set up an additional meeting with your child’s teacher for whatever reason. If you need to set up an appointment, make a phone call or write a quick note or email to him. Let him know if you have particular topics you would like to discuss and what times work for you.
  • Talk to your child. Ask her which subjects she likes the best and the least and why. Ask her how she feels about school and her teacher. Also, ask if there is anything she would like you to talk about with her teacher. Help her understand that you and her teacher are meeting to help her and you want to make sure her questions are brought to the table.
  • Gather input from others. If your spouse, another care-giving adult, or someone with pertinent insight (e.g., doctor, counselor) can't attend the conference, ask for that person's questions and concerns before the conference.
  • Make a list. Before you go to the meeting, make a list of topics to discuss with the teacher. Along with questions about academics and behavior, you may want to talk to him about your child's home life, personality, concerns, habits, and other topics that may help the teacher in working with your child (e.g., religious holidays, hobbies, transitions).

Bring pen and paper, take notes, and don’t be afraid to send a follow-up email summarizing the important next steps. You and your child’s teacher are a team and it will be helpful for you to both have in writing what you decided during the meeting. More tips for during and after a parent-teacher conferences can be found here.

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