Five Tips for a Great Parent-Teacher Conference

  1. Be on time I’ve been there as both a parent and a teacher. We have to meet with the parents of all of the students and often have to coordinate conferences with other teachers and specialists. There is little time allotted to speak and we can’t afford to lose any of that time. If you are late, the teacher may not be able to see you as there likely will be other conferences scheduled.
  2. Bring a notebook Because there is so little time available, you will want to reflect on any questions you have for the teacher. Write them down before the conference time. Generally, the teacher will be prepared to discuss your child’s progress and will do so first. Take notes. If your questions are not yet answered by the teacher, ask those now.
  3. THis is adult time. Unless your child is invited to the conference, leave the child at home. You and the teacher will be more free to speak openly without the child present. There may also be a time constraint if you are trying to explain issues to your child or chase after a younger child . If you need to coordinate childcare, perhaps a friend can watch your children while you have a conference and then you can watch the friend’s children. Often, you can do this within the school building as it is a short time. Check with your school if you are unsure.
  4. So what do I ask? Your questions may vary depending on present (or past) issues you have had with your child. Here are some ideas. Make sure that you understand your child’s present level of performance. What is her reading level? Is that on grade level? What about his performance in math? Does my child work in a regular (leveled) small group? What are my child’s strengths? What are her weaknesses? Does my child work well with others? Are there specific children he works best with?
  5. The absolute best question to ask. You want to help your child and may be unsure how best to spend your time or to prioritize learning needs. So, ask! Ask the teacher what YOU can do to support your child’s progress at school. This is a partnership and being on the same page makes for the best outcome for your child.
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