Manual Parent-Teacher Conference

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A parent teacher conference is a short meeting between you and your child's teacher to talk about your child's academic performance and experience at school.
Table of contents

If a student lives with one parent who has more than one job, or if both parents work late, suggest a local study center, library, or tutoring program where that student can go get help and have someone check their assignments so that a routine is created with an involved adult. Approachable teachers build a lasting connection with parents and promote a positive experience.

Be sure to ask parents if they have any questions at least twice during your meeting. Make sure they have your email address so they know they can ask you questions at any point during the school year. View all parents as partners because, like it or not, they are.

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Work to make sure that even the most challenging students and parents feel like welcome teammates. Here are some strategies for difficult conversations with parents. No matter how prepared and affirming teachers are, some parents may become hostile. Try to remain calm and follow a few tips from the National Education Association :. Teaching is a challenging job and you may be tempted to stray into unprofessional or overly social territory during conferences.

Several conversations or topics should never be discussed with parents or with other teachers in professional spaces, including:. Often, email is the most convenient way for you to receive messages and respond to parents, but phone calls or future conferences may be necessary, too. Set the guidelines and boundaries for future communications. Google Voice allows teachers to create phone numbers that can forward to their mobile phone — without giving out their personal number.

Remind is a texting service that allows teachers and schools to conveniently contact students and parents without using personal phone numbers. Jennifer L.

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Ask questions and listen. Ask parents or guardians for their input about students' strengths, needs, and learning styles, as well as their hopes and dreams for their children. Don't forget to ask these simple but important questions: "Does your child like school? Make a plan. Provide suggestions for activities and strategies to support learning at home.

Spend the last few minutes of the meeting on your specific goals for the student. Note the kinds of strategies you'll use, the length of time you'll use them, and when you'll communicate to parents next. Be honest and have a thick skin.

It's your responsibility to give parents or guardians an accurate assessment of students' academic progress. Sometimes this means delivering bad news. Sugar-coating the facts defeats the purpose of the conference. In addition, you may see some of your students differently than their parents do, and some parents may take your evaluation of their child in a negative or defensive way. While you should be open to constructive criticism, remember that you're in charge of the conference, and if the discussion becomes too heated to be effective, or goes awry in other ways, you should conclude the meeting and ask to reconvene at another time.

If you have reason to expect such negative interactions before the next conference, ask an administrator to attend. If you suspect a student may have a learning disability , however, you don't need to say that specifically. You can just tell the parents or guardians that you recommend they have their student get an educational evaluation to determine his or her learning style. Follow up. A little thank-you can go a long way.

Many parents have to take time off work or hire babysitters to attend conferences, so consider taking the time to thank parents in a letter or email. You can also have students write thank-you notes to their parents or guardians for attending and supporting their learning.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

In the notes, remind parents to contact you if they have any further questions or concerns. Be sure to contact parents who did not attend and offer alternative ways to communicate about their child's progress.

Communicate regularly. Let parents know what's going on with their child in an ongoing fashion. Keep families informed about class projects, homework and other assignments, students' accomplishments, and any problems or concerns that may arise. Enhance your instruction. Now that you know a little more about your students, use that information to make instructional decisions that will help your students achieve and grow in the classroom. You each have an important perspective to share — as the parent, you know your child's personality, habits, strengths, and weaknesses.

The teacher, on the other hand, has been trained professionally in the best methods of teaching, meeting individual student's needs, how to control classroom behavior, and how to help your child succeed in school. Working together you will be able to find ways that each of you can provide the appropriate and necessary support for your child.

The conference is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about your child's progress, to learn more about the class and what the students are studying, and to find out if you child is having difficulty with anything in particular. In addition, the more you know about your children's school and classes, the more likely they will be to talk about daily experiences with you. They will appreciate your concern and involvement, and they will be more likely to approach you when they have problems. The conference with your child's teacher will be more efficient and productive if you do some preparation beforehand.

To prepare for the conference:.

5 Strategies for a Successful Parent-Teacher Conference

Make sure that your child understands that you and the teacher are meeting to help him, so that he doesn't worry about the conference. Prepare a list of notes Make a list of topics that you want to discuss with the teacher and that you think the teacher should know, such as your concerns about the school, the child's home life, any major changes in your family, habits, hobbies, part-time jobs, religious holidays, or anything that is worrying your child.

Be sure to ask for input from your spouse or other adults that are caring for your child as well. Prepare a list of questions Preparing a list of questions will help you have a productive conversation with your child's teacher. Prioritize the questions in case you run out of time during the conference. The following questions are examples that will help you learn more about your child's progress in school:.

If your child receives special services gifted programs, special education, English classes, speech or occupational therapy, or support for a learning disability , ask about the frequency of these services and about your child's progress with them. Be on time Get off to the right start: come to the conference on time.

Remember that other parents may also have conferences scheduled for that day; if you arrive late, you have may missed your conference altogether. You should also plan on ending the conference at the scheduled time so that other parents can start their conference on time. Be yourself Relax and be yourself.

Remember that you and the teacher both the want the same thing: the very best for your child. Stay calm Stay calm during the conference. Respectful communication will be the most effective way to work together with your child's teacher.

Tips for Leading Productive Parent-Teacher Conferences

Getting angry or upset during the conference will make it very difficult to have a positive conversation. Ask for explanations of anything you don't understand Listen carefully to what the teacher says.

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If you don't understand something that the teacher talks about such as an educational term or an explanation of a school policy , don't be afraid to ask for clarification. It is important for you to understand what your child's teacher is telling you. Ask the most important questions early in the conference Ask the most important questions first as you may run out of time, especially if other parents are waiting to have their conference after yours.

You can always schedule another meeting with the teacher to cover any points you didn't cover. Respectfully discuss differences of opinion If you disagree with the teacher, respectfully explain why you disagree. If you don't let the teacher know about your differences of opinion, the teacher may think that you agree and will move on to the next topic.

Discussing your differences with the teacher may help both of you find a more effective way to help your child.

Create an action plan Ask your child's teacher for specific suggestions of ways that you can help your child at home with homework, reading, organization, routines, behavioral issues, etc. Make sure you understand the teacher's suggestions, and ask for clarification if you don't. This list of suggestions will become the action plan.