Having a successful parent teacher conference

Parent teacher conferences will be happening soon! Read more to learn about having a successful parent teacher conference.

As the end of October gets closer, it means that most children have been in school for almost two months.  Parents, teachers and kids should be settled into the new school year and are finally becoming comfortable with their new routines and schedules. 

At this point in the school year, many parents and teachers are preparing to meet and discuss the successes and opportunities that children are experiencing.  Whether you are about to experience your first parent teacher conference or feel like you are a professional at them, it’s good to refresh yourself to a few tips for making this time with your child’s teacher successful.

In an article published in the U.S. News and World Report Laura McMullen wrote 5 Tips for a Successful Parent-Teacher Conference.  She wrote this article after interviewing Betsy Landers from the National Parent Teacher Association.  Landers indicates that to have a successful conference, parents and teachers should form a partnership, especially since these two groups of people often influence the child and their education the most.  In order to help parents and teachers have good communication and spend their time during conferences wisely, parents should be prepared by:

  1. Talk to your child:  Before attending the conference, ask your child for input.  Ask about any issues they are having, their likes, their dislikes, etc.  Also let your child know that you are their advocate.
  2. Prepare talking points: List topics or questions you would like to discuss about the child’s behavior, academics, etc.  Also, prepare the list in order of importance so you are sure to cover the most important items first.  For more information about questions to ask during parent teacher conferences, see Questions to ask during a parent teacher conference by Michigan State University Extension.
  3. Give personal insight: Parents should tell the teacher(s) if the student has medical issues, problems with bullying and any “emotional upheavals” such as divorce or death.
  4. Be open-minded: If parents are sensitive to something the teacher says about the child, don’t get angry or defensive. Rather, ask questions and ask for examples.
  5. Leave on a good note: Before leaving, parents should let teachers know the best way to be contacted.  To help extend the relationship beyond the conference, the teacher should know that they can contact you with any concerns they may have.

Finally, don’t be afraid to schedule more time with your child’s teacher at a later date.  If all of your questions or issues are not addressed during the scheduled parent teacher conference, you and your child’s teacher should schedule additional time.

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