How can parents get the most out of parent-teacher conferences?
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Unfortunately only about 1/2 of the parents of my students come to parent-teacher conferences. If you can't make the scheduled conference times, call the teacher and ask for a different date/time. Most teachers would be willing to meet before or after school or even have a phone conference. Basically, the parent-teacher conference is a time for you to make sure your child's needs are being met by the teacher and school. If you're unhappy with something that has been going on, send a note asking for the counselor or principal to sit in on the meeting too.
When you come to the conference, see if you can leave younger siblings at home or bring something to occupy them. I've had parents who could barely look at their child's scores because they were busy trying to feed the baby, keep the baby occupied or keep the baby from choking on something in the classroom. Most elementary school classrooms are not going to be babyproof, so letting the toddlers run around is not a good idea. I always provide blocks or baby dolls to play with, but often the little ones are more interested in running around and finding everything in the room that they really shouldn't get into, so sometimes the best thing is for adventurous little ones to stay home.
Be prepared with a list of questions or concerns you might have. Ask your child before hand how things are going at school. This is a great time to bring up any personality conflicts your child may be having with other students too. If your child is struggling, ask the teacher what you can do at hoem to help. Ask if there are any resources that you can borrow from the teacher or school to help out at home.
If there are discipline problems to be discussed, please keep an open mind. I've heard parents excuse their child for almost every behavior imaginable. Also, keep in mind that what might be okay at home is not okay in a classroom with 20+ other students. Ask the teacher about having a behavior plan where your child can earn rewards at home or school for good behavior.
After the conference make sure you congratulate your child on what they are doing well and follow through with any plans for extra help or behavior improvement. And, know that your child's teacher is thankful that you took the time to come see about your child's education!
Parents can get the most out of parent-teacher conferences by:
1. Make TIME for the conference - even a phone conference is better than pushing it aside. Being informed is one of the best ways to help your child achieve.
2. Be focused - have in mind 2-3 target areas or concerns that you would like to discuss. Teachers are usually seeing parents back to back, they have their own list to discuss with you but there isn't much time for general chatting.
3. Try to be open minded versus defensive. It's difficult to hear about problems or concerns but remember that the teacher wants what is best for your child. They are trying to help.
4. Be willing to do your part after the conference. Take suggestions and implement them, seeking help if necessary.
5. Be Positive - let your child know how proud you are of their hard work and that you are there to help with any difficulties.
Parents can get the most of parent-teacher conferences by doing the following: 1) Come prepared. Know your child's curriculum, study habbits, and student. 2) Be on time. If you can't make it, please contact the teacher beforehand! 3) Have an open mind. It's always hard to hear difficult things about your child. We all have areas to improve upon. Even our kiddos! 4) Celebrate your child's growth. Make sure your child knows how proud you are! The kids are usually so nervous for these conferences!
Parents can maximize their parent-teacher conferences by becoming familiar with the curriculum before the conference. That makes understanding the assessment data and progress much easier. While most schools suggest that parents bring a list of questions, I recommend choosing one or two topics/questions you want to discuss. Long lists of questions can consume the entire conference time and are often answered by the teacher as he/she shares your child's progress.
I also recommend bringing your patience. Teachers often have multiple conferences back-to-back and it is not easy to stay on schedule when you are eager to share so many important things about each child. Leaving young children at home is also helpful to prevent them from waiting and to help you stay focused on the discussion with the teacher.
Ask the teacher for specific suggestions about how you can help your child at home. Whether your child is struggling or needs to be challenged, your teacher should be able to provide specific instructions to help you focus on the most important academic skills to reinforce.
Celebrate your child's accomplishments after conferences! Recognizing your child's hard work will show them how important school is to you.
It's important to go into the conference prepared. Bring an actual list of questions/concerns you may have. Ask the teacher if there is anything you can do at home to supplement your child's education.