You’re nervous about the upcoming conference with your child’s teacher. Before you go in, remember that it’s not a conference to demean or punish your child — it’s an opportunity for all of you to work together and help them improve.
Here are tips for having a successful parent-teacher conference:
Prepare in advance:
Make a list of questions and concerns you want to discuss so when the time comes, you and the teacher can stay focused and on task. This will also give her something to refer back to when giving her recommendations.
Let the teacher speak first:
Once seated around the table, allow your child’s teacher(s) to share their thoughts on how things have been going and to share their ideas. Let them know that you respect and appreciate their time and input and indicate this by saying something like, “Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us today.”
Be an active listener:
Give your child’s teacher(s) your full attention as they speak to keep from interrupting or giving off negative body language such as rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, or shifting in your seat. If it helps, take notes to stay organized and focused on the conversation. Show through words and actions that you’re engaged with what they have to say — not just waiting for them to stop talking so you can talk again.
Once the teacher is finished speaking, it’s your turn to share what you’ve observed and how you feel about it. Then ask the teacher for his or her suggestions on how to solve any problems you’re having so your child can be successful in school.
Come up with a plan:
Together, you and the teacher should develop a plan to help your child improve and show growth. By following it, your child will be more likely to reach his or her full potential in school — which will make you both happy. If for some reason, you can’t come up with a solution that works for everyone at this time, you can always schedule another conference, later on, to follow up.
Follow through on what was decided together:
Both of you are responsible for implementing what was agreed upon during the conference. To avoid confusion about who’s acting on each decision, write down everything so there is no miscommunication. Be to check in with the teacher to see how your child is doing in the coming weeks and months so you know if any changes need to be made.
Don’t forget to have fun:
We all want our kids to succeed in school, but don’t allow yourself or your child’s teachers to become stressed over test scores and grades. Keep parent-teacher conferences light by remembering that everyone involved wants what’s best for your child — not just academically, but socially and emotionally too.
Leave with a plan:
At the end of the conference, review what was said so you can go home and put together a plan of action that will help resolve any issues at hand. This way, the next time you meet with your child’s teachers, these issues won’t be front and center because they’ll have already been resolved.
Every great relationship starts with quality communication — especially between parents and their children’s teachers! By keeping these tips in mind when preparing for a parent-teacher conference, you’ll be able to have a successful conversation that will help your child succeed in school.