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!
11 thoughts on “6 Tips for a Successful Parent Teacher Conference”
Hey there! I’m a high school science teacher and parent conferences are my biggest cause of anxiety. I have two young children not in school yet and I can’t even imagine how that is going to go. I wish parents would come prepared with some knowledge about their grades (all of our stuff is posted online so there is NO excuse for showing up not knowing your kid is failing). I hate having to tell a parent for the first time that so and so is doing poorly when they could’ve seen such a thing online.
I agree! Meeting with prepared parents helps things go so much smoother.
Fellow educator here! Constant communication is key. It baffles me that I don’t hear from MORE parents actually. I wonder, what we can do as teachers, to help parents feel more comfortable? The Remind app has been a blessing for sure! It sometimes feel like pulling teeth to get folks to come to an actual conference. <3
I deal with the same thing! I always try to keep the lines of communication open and not seem so “teachery” (not a real word, lol) but not too intimidating to parents. I think parents feel like there is so much they don’t know and don’t feel they can add anything to their child’s education. Sadly, that is no where near the truth. We really need parents involved!
Not a fellow educator, but just had our parent teacher conference and I’d like to think I’ve fulfilled all of the recommended tips. The meeting felt comfortable and open where I could ask questions.
I’m so happy to hear that you had a successful conference! That is always the goal!
Love these tips! As an elementary school counselor, I help teachers with conference frequently, and parents often reach out to me for advice with conferences. Your tips are spot on!
Such an important topic! I don’t have a little one in school YET, but he will be eventually. And my best friend is a teacher.. So any parent who did this list I”m sure my friend would say they are making a situation have the best possible outcome by being prepared and involved. wonderful post!
Oh, I love these tips! We have a particularly difficult conference coming up — our daughter has been struggling with making friends, and I have a lot I want to say, but I always feel so anxious and overwhelmed when the time comes for the actual conference! Thanks for these great tips!
I’m so happy that you find these tips helpful!
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