As the school semester draws to an end, most teachers aim to schedule parent-teacher conferences. In these conferences, your child’s teacher will give you valuable information about how the child is doing academically, socially and emotionally while at school.
Sometimes, teachers share results of various tests and explain what the test scores mean in relation to your child. Also, the teacher hopes to gather helpful information about you. This may include what you think about your child’s level of academic performance and what you may know about what motivates your son or daughter.
By using these meetings to their best advantage, you can help your child enjoy greater success.
These strategies can help you prepare for a successful parent-teacher conference:
1. Be prepared: list your questions. What do you want to know about how your child is doing socially, academically, and emotionally at school? Write down your questions so you don’t forget them. Seek specific information, like:
- Why does your son never have math homework?
- Are you concerned your child is lagging behind in Social Studies?
- Would tutoring help?
- Why does your son get detention all the time?
- Is your daughter shy at school? Does she have trouble making friends?
2. Arrive on time. You might be surprised at the number of parents who arrive late, expecting the instructor will be waiting, only to find she’s already started the next conference! Yes, your time is valuable. The teacher’s time is too, and she has many more students and families to accommodate.
3. Listen and follow the teacher’s lead. The teacher will have an agenda of everything she is required to review during the parent-teacher conference, and probably some optional items, too. When the conference begins, take the teacher’s direction in terms of how to proceed.
- Some instructors want to get through their agenda before entertaining your questions.
- Others are willing to suspend their formal review to address your questions and concerns.
- Other teachers may simply ask what you would like to accomplish during the conference.
4. Keep in mind that the teacher is on a schedule. Some busy instructors actually need to schedule their conferences every 15 minutes! If you keep questions and concerns concise and brief, you’ll both be less frustrated about what must be accomplished.
5. Inquire about teaching strategies. If you’re curious about how the teacher approaches a certain subject with the kids, your conference is a good time to ask about it.
6. Cooperate with the teacher. For example, if the teacher states she’d like you to email her weekly about Johnny’s math homework, wholeheartedly agree to do it. And then follow through.
- Your cooperation with the teacher is integral to the process of ensuring your child gets a good education.
7. Show appreciation. Everyone wants to be recognized for their professional skills. Let the teacher know you notice what she’s doing with your child. Thank her for her hard work.
Do your part to have helpful, informative conferences. After all, you and the teachers are “in it together” when it comes to educating your children. Follow these strategies to have a successful parent-teacher conference, and ultimately, your child will reap the benefits of your efforts.