How to Make the Most Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences

How to Make the Most Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences

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 make the most out of parent-teacher conferences and to help your child succeed both in and out of school.

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