Parent-teacher conferences offer a great way for you and your child’s teacher to share information and insights regarding your child’s progress in school. To make the most of your next parent-teacher conference, here are some things you can do before, during, and after the meeting:
- Identify any issues or concerns you might want to discuss with the teacher. To do so, talk to your child and review your child’s school work to determine what challenges he or she might be encountering.
- Create a list of questions that can help you address the issues or concerns you identified while gathering information.
- Prioritize your list of questions. Since time is limited during parent-teacher conferences, decide which of the issues are most pressing to ensure they are discussed first.
- Arrive on time. This shows the teacher you respect his or her time and allows you to utilize as much of your allotted time as possible.
- Remain on task. Keep your list of questions available to ensure you cover the items you need to in the allotted time.
- Ask what you can do to support your child’s efforts. Make it a point to be part of the solution, not the problem. Work with the teacher to come up with a game plan to address any areas of concern.
- Be respectful of the teacher’s schedule as well as those of the other parents who are scheduled to meet with the teacher after you. If you are unable to discuss all of your concerns within the allotted time frame, determine the best way to follow up with the teacher to continue the discussion.
- Write a thank you note or email to your child’s teacher. This is a great way to foster good will with your child’s teacher and reinforces the idea that teaching your child is a team effort. It can also give you the opportunity to briefly recap or summarize what was discussed to ensure you are both on the same page.
- Keep your child in the loop. Tell him or her how the meeting went. Be sure to pass along any praise before discussing any issues of concern.
- Follow up on any action items that may have been identified during the meeting.
The effort you put into planning for your next parent-teacher conference can lead to a positive and productive experience for you, your child’s teacher and your child.