It’s that time of year again. Time to sit down with your child’s teacher.
As with most things in life, preparation is the key to a successful parent teacher conference. A good parent teacher conference can result in a collaborative relationship that will last the school year. A positive relationship between the caregiver and teacher has been proven to increase a student’s success in the classroom.
Usually, you have very limited time. There’s so much to talk about and it’s hard to know where to begin.
The Harvard Family Research Project suggests reviewing your child’s work, grades and past teacher feedback. Ask your child about his experience at school and make a list of questions ahead of time to ask during the conference.
Parent-teacher conferences are no longer a once-a-year check-in; they can provide useful insight for immediate and clear next steps.
“Conferences are now a progress report timed so parents can actually do something about what they learn from teachers,” says Heather Bastow Weiss, founder and director of the Harvard Family Research Project.
To get the most out of the conversation, she says, both the teacher and the parent should know what comes next. Brainstorm with the teacher to come up with ways to solve challenges your child faces. Ask for concrete examples of things you can do at home to help.
“Go in looking for an opportunity to get involved with supporting your child,” advises Holmes, who taught for 16 years before becoming an administrator. Parents should leave knowing the resources that are available to them, says Holmes, such as teacher or school websites and assignment calendars. –NPR
5 Tips for a Productive Parent Teacher Conference
-Prepare the questions and topics you want to cover. Plan to take notes.
-Arrive a few minutes early.
-Begin with positive comments about the teacher, classroom or school. Then, stay focused and avoid going off on tangents.
-Be open to what the teacher is saying. Try to be objective.
-Express appreciation for the conference and follow up if necessary.
These tips and important questions to ask can be found on our printable worksheet “Make the Most of Your Parent/Teacher Conference.” Print it and take it with you. It will help guide your conversation and allow you to help your student have a successful year.