In general, at some point in their lives all parents will
likely be required to attend a parent-teacher conference. These conferences are
designed to allow the parents to discuss any questions or concerns with the
child’s teacher, and for the teacher to offer a review of the child’s progress
during the school year.
Depending on the school, parent-teacher conferences will be
scheduled two to four times per year for 15-20 minutes at a time, a relatively
short amount of time to have all of your questions answered. As such, if parent-teacher
conferences are creeping up soon, make sure to remain prepared, and consider
these tips on
how to make the most out
of parent-teacher conferences
with your child.
Prepare Yourself Beforehand
It is important to understand that preparation for
parent-teacher conferences begins well before you reach the school parking lot.
In fact, you can remain prepared for these conferences by performing a few key
things with your child throughout the course of the school year.
First, sit down with your child periodically and review his
or her work in the classroom. Even if your child is currently only in first or
second grade, you should still be able to discuss with him or her what the
class is learning, and glean whether or not he is succeeding or struggling.
This will provide you with a solid amount of information about your child’s
progress in the classroom that you can discuss during parent-teacher
conferences when they finally arrive.
And when speaking with your little one, make sure to ask him
or her about all aspects of school, not just one subject in the classroom.
Specifically, ask your child what he or she enjoys most, different projects in
the art room, how he or she enjoys outdoor play with other children, and even
what his or her favorite part of lunchtime may be. This may also offer you
useful information about your child’s social abilities that his or her teacher
can discuss with you when the time comes.
Treat the Conference Like an Appointment
Once you are asked to participate in parent-teacher
conferences, make a point to set up a specific time that you can come in with
your child and speak with his or her teacher. And when the time comes, treat
this conference like you would any other appointment – be professional, polite,
and courteous at all times. Make sure to show up on time and prepared with
everything you may need for the conference. Furthermore, understand that your
child’s teacher only wants the best for your child; as such, be open to
constructive criticism and suggestions, even if it is against your first
instincts. Ultimately, you and your child’s teacher are fighting for the same
cause, so it is only helpful to cooperate during this conference.
Ask Questions and Discuss Your Concerns
The time that you spend in the parent-teacher conference is
meant to provide you with more information about your child’s progress in
school. As such, this is the perfect time for you to ask questions and discuss
any concerns that you may have developed throughout the year. If you find that
your little one seems to be struggling in one area, ask what his or her teacher
thinks about this, and what the teacher thinks may be a constructive solution.
Or if you have questions about your child’s hours away from home, pose these as
well. This short period of 15 or 20 minutes is often all the time that parents
have to learn about their child’s life in school; make sure to use it wisely
when it comes.
Formulate a Plan for the Future and Talk with Your Child
The discussion shouldn’t end once the conference is
finished; instead, before the conference is over, formulate a plan with the
teacher that allows you to facilitate further progress in the future. For
example, if your child is having difficulties academically or socially, discuss
what can be done and put a plan in place to achieve these goals.
Once you discuss these as adults, sit down with your child
and talk to him or her about your possible questions and concerns, and tell
your child about your discussion with his or her teacher. And if you have a
plan in place to make progress in your child’s future, talk to him or her about
this and make him or her an integral part. This is an excellent way to
collectively pursue success for your child, both in and out of the classroom.
How to Make the Most Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences
Do you have parent-teacher conferences coming up soon? If
so, consider these tips to help you
the most out of parent-teacher conferences
and to help your child succeed
both in and out of school.