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How to Make the Most of Your Next Parent-Teacher Conference

Posted on Nov 14, 2015 6:00:00 AM by Kim Schlauch

parent teacher conference

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.

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5 More Questions to Ask at Your Parent-Teacher Conference

Posted on Nov 15, 2014 6:00:00 AM by Pam McKee

Apple for Teacher

Parent-teacher conferences are coming up.  In addition to the questions  introduced previously, here are a few more suggestions for you to consider as you think through and prepare for talking with your child’s teacher:

  1. May I tell you about my child?  Teachers want to hear about your child - what motivates him, what he likes to do in his free time, what he enjoys doing with his family and friends, special skills or hobbies.

  2. May I tell you about what’s going on at home?  A new brother or sister, or one on the way, divorce, death of a grandparent, or even a long-loved pet - all these influence a child’s feelings about life.


After your child’s teacher talks about how your child is doing academically, follow up by asking:

  1. Is my child doing his best?  Whether his grades are high or not so high, the important thing is, is your child putting forth his best effort?  Does the teacher sense that your child is being lazy or struggles to focus?

  2. Does my child need any extra help?  Can you, the teacher, recommend a tutor or specific ways I can help my child?

  3. May I share a concern?  If you are aware of and concerned about a situation at school, ask the teacher about it.  Often the parent has heard only the child’s side of the story.

Go into your parent-teacher conference knowing that there will not be time to talk about everything suggested here.  This is the beginning of developing a relationship with your child’s teacher.  If, after this conference, you have pressing questions that you just need to have more time for, call the school office and schedule a future appointment with your child’s teacher.



5 Questions to Ask at a Parent-Teacher Conference

Posted on Nov 11, 2014 6:00:00 AM by Kim Schlauch

Parent Teacher Conference sign

Parent-teacher conferences offer a great way to get the low-down on how your child is doing in school and what he or she is learning.  They also provide an opportunity for you to establish a relationship with your child’s teacher as you work together to help your child succeed in school.

Parent-teacher conferences are normally limited to 15-20 minutes.  As a result, it is important for you to plan ahead to make the most of the time you have available.  In addition, preparation on your part sets a positive tone for the meeting as it shows the teacher you are committed to being involved in your child’s education.  To help you prepare, here are five important questions to ask:

1.  What are the learning expectations this year?  This includes the skills, subjects, and content matter your child is expected to learn during the course of the year as well as an understanding as to how your child is doing in relation those expectations.  The more clearly you understand the expectations, the better able you are to support your child and know what to work on at home to achieve the established learning goals.

2.  What are the classroom expectations?  This includes behavior guidelines, class participation expectations and the grading process.  Class policies can vary from teacher to teacher, so the time you take now to understand them can help you avoid confusion and frustration down the road.  This is also a good time to determine the teacher’s preferred ways of communication (e.g. phone, email).  

3.  What do you feel are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?  This question can offer insights into what your child enjoys doing and where his or her strengths lie, two very different things.  For example, your child may excel in math, but really enjoy music and reading.  These insights can provide ways for you to address weaknesses and further develop strengths in ways that appeal most to your child.
teacher receiving apple

4.  How is my child doing socially?  By asking this question, you may find out things you wouldn’t necessarily learn through your child, such as whether he is being a bully, being bullied, is too talkative or withdrawn.  This opens the door to identifying any issues and working with your child’s teacher to come up with a plan of action to address them.

5.  Do you have any recommendations based on what was discussed?  This question opens the lines of communication and shows your willingness to work together in order to help your child and make the learning experience a positive one.

Ultimately, parent-teacher conferences give both you and the teacher the opportunity to provide input and ask other questions as necessary as well as the chance to develop a partnership with one another as you work together to create an action plan to help your child succeed in school.