If you have kids in school, sooner or later you are going to be invited to attend a parent-teacher conference. Most of the time, these parent conferences are mandatory.
Furthermore, it is a benefit to you and your child that you attend. My advice is to go, even if you have to take off work.
There is crucial information given at these meetings that you would not get otherwise. Your child’s teacher will help you understand what is expected of him and how well he is meeting those expectations.
As a teacher mom, I can give you a few insider secrets that will help you navigate this crucial parent meeting. In fact, these tips might even help your child get more attention in the classroom.
How Do You Prepare For a Parent-Teacher Conference?
Before you go to the parent-teacher meeting, make sure you have some time to think about the points to discuss with her. Write down all of your questions in the order of importance.
In fact, it is a good idea to include your child’s thoughts too. Ask if he has any questions or concerns he wants to add to the conversation.
During your time together, you will probably touch on the following areas:
- Class performance
- Work habits
- Homework performance
- Social interaction
Think about each of these points when writing your questions. Are you concerned about any issues that are not being addressed properly?
More importantly, don’t forget to think of some things your child’s teacher is doing well so she will continue to do them in the future. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.
After you have written down your questions, it is good to think about the actual meeting. Before you go, check out these parent-teacher conference tips. These insider secrets will help you make the most of your time together.
Do’s and Don’ts of a Parent-Teacher Conference
- Turn off your phone when you sit down for the parent’s conference. Do not text, email, or talk on the phone during your time together.
- Be on time (or early). Many times parent-teacher conferences are held back to back so there is limited time to talk. There are probably other parents waiting after you so be concise with your words.
- Look professional. Wear clothes you would normally wear to work. You want your child’s teacher to take you seriously during the teacher conference. Flip-flops, cut-offs, tank tops, sagging pants, or no undergarments say you don’t care about the parent meeting or your child.
- Bring a notebook and take notes during the parent-teacher conference so you don’t forget what was said.
- Decide you are going to work together as a team with the teacher, even if you don’t like her. This is the best way to help your child be successful.
- Your focus should not just be on grades but on character qualities. Prepare questions that will help you understand how he is doing in this area.
What Do You Say in a Parent-Teacher Conference?
- Approach the teacher in a friendly way. Compliment the teacher first and then get to your concerns. After you have finished with your concern, end with another compliment. This will put her at ease and help her not feel attacked.
- Use words that will not put your child’s teacher on defense. Keep your statements in the “I” form. Say things like “I feel,” “I am concerned,” or “I noticed.” Don’t start your sentence with “you.” For example: “You don’t,” “You’re not,” or “You can’t.”
- Be aware of your body language. Crossed arms, scowls, yelling, or pointing will not be well received.
- Be honest with the teacher, but respectful. It is better to address problems in person than on the phone or by email.
- Thank your child’s teacher for all she does. She is with your child all day, every day. She will remember what you say to her or about her.
- Ask how you can further support at home what is being taught in the classroom.
- Make sure you get the teacher’s email or preferred way to communicate so you can continue any further discussion.
What to Do After the Parent-Teacher Conference
- Talk to your child about what was said at the parent-teacher conference, if he was not there.
- Praise your child for all the positive things said first.
- Lovingly address any areas of concern and discuss the plan to remedy the situation.
- Immediately implement the plan you discussed at the conference.
- Inform the teacher if there are any changes to the plan, or it is not working.
- At any time during the year, inform your child’s teacher if there are changes in your family such as a death, a divorce, or other issues.
- It’s not a bad idea to send teacher gifts throughout the year. Or at least do something for her at Christmas.
- Pray for your child’s teacher daily. She has a huge impact on your child as she is with him longer than you are during the week. What she says and does with your child will be with him for years later.
Why a Parent-Teacher Conference Is So Important
The parent-teacher meeting is so important for your child’s success. You, your child, and the teacher are a team. It is best if all three partners work together to reach the same goal–your child’s success.
Some of you are going to have a bad teacher. It happens to everyone at one time or another. Chances are you are not going to get your child’s teacher removed during the school year, so it is better to find ways to work together.
Don’t forget that teachers are usually there because they love kids. It’s certainly not for the pay! They want to see your child succeed as much as you do.
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