Preparing for Parent/Teacher Conferences
It’s hard to believe that it's already time for Parent/Teacher Conferences. Parent/Teacher Conferences are a perfect opportunity for parents and teachers to establish a collaborative relationship based on good communication. However, since conferences are often limited to a very short amount of time, it is helpful and important for parents to be prepared ahead of time so that the conference is efficient and productive. We have compiled a list of suggestions that will help ensure that the Parent/Teacher conference(s) will be a positive experience.
Listen: Start the conference by letting your child’s teacher talk. Usually, teachers have spent time preparing for the conference by completing assessments and collecting samples of your child’s work. Give them the opportunity to share that information with you. Not only does this communicate respect for your child’s teacher, but it also helps set a positive tone for the rest of the meeting. In addition, it increases the chance that the teacher will be more attentive to what you have to say when it is your turn.
Take notes: Even if the teacher allows you to take some of your child’s work home, it is not common to be able to take copies of the assessments home. Furthermore, it can be challenging to remember everything the teacher says once you are home. We recommend taking notes while the teacher is talking. These notes may be a good reference point for later in the year or at the very least, they will help you remember important points such as teacher suggestions and/or record questions/concerns you may have.
Pay attention to the clock: Respect the teacher and other parents by arriving early to your conference and watching the clock during the conference. If the time has started to run out, ask your teacher if you can schedule a second conference to discuss the issues further. Leave when it is time for you to leave so that the teacher can start the next conference on time.
Make a list: Just as it can be difficult to remember what was said during the conference, it can also be easy to forget to say all of the information that you wanted to share with the teacher. It is a good idea to spend some time thinking about your child before the conference. Write down the points that you want to discuss during the conference. Some topics you may want to consider are:
- Questions/concerns about your child’s academic performance or social behavior;
- Your child’s strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes (academically, socially and behaviorally);
- Your goals for your child over the next year (academically, socially and behaviorally);
- Anything going on at home that may impact your child’s performance at school (i.e. new home, health issues, trouble sleeping, etc.); and/or
- Questions about the teacher’s grading or clarification over other classroom/school policies.
Parent/Teacher Conferences allow both the teacher(s) and parent(s) to share their unique knowledge of the same child with each other so that everyone can have a better understanding of how to help the child flourish. By working together and communicating honest, detailed information, parents, and teachers will begin to lay the foundations for a successful school year. Prepare ahead of time so that you can take advantage of the opportunity that Parent/Teacher Conferences provide!
Any questions? Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com. Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.
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