By the time you read this I will be knee deep in parent teacher conferences. As a parent, I love speaking with my children’s teachers good or bad. I feel that my children’s teachers are integral parts of their team or better yet, very important members of their personal coaching staff. Teachers want to help and I know this because I am speaking from the standpoint of an educator. That is mainly the reason many of us get into the teaching profession. WE WANT TO HELP KIDS THROUGH EDUCATION! (puts soap box away) This list of tips came about because even I as an educator still get a little intimidated when I meet with the teachers. I don’t know what it is, but this feeling comes over me. I want parents to come into conferences feeling empowered and relaxed.
- Have an honest discussion with your child. Ask them how things are going in school (this should be happening daily). Some of you may need to have a “Come to Jesus” conversation, meaning give your child an opportunity to come clean about anything they haven’t told you yet. Being blindsided with something you had no knowledge of can be upsetting to say the least.
- Make notes or a list of questions. It is so easy to forget to ask something or let the teacher know something important. If you are anything like me, if it doesn’t get written down, it’s forgotten in like 10 minutes. Put it in your smartphone if you don’t want to pull out an actual paper list. Teachers love to see this or at least I do.
- Ask for explanations. If you don’t understand why something is or isn’t being done for your child by all means get clarification! Especially if your child receives special education services or has a 504 plan. It is hard to advocate for your child if you don’t understand the process.
- Stay calm. It is hard to hear things about our little angels even more so if it is not good. Keep your cool and talk to the teacher about possible interventions and how you can help. Most teachers are nervous about conferences as well (imagine telling a parent that their child is failing or their behavior is a problem).
- Follow up. If there is work that needs to be caught up on or corrected, make a date to either meet again or talk via email or by the phone. This also lets your child know that you are fully invested in their education.
- Be on time. On conference days, meetings are scheduled back to back. It is important to be mindful of other people’s time. If you are going to be late or can’t make it, just call or text (I love the Remind app)
If you have some other tips that you would like to share, please comment!
Until next time, read on!