The conference experience gives parents an opportunity to discuss with the teacher their child's social, emotional, and academic development. Studies show that parents who partner with their child's school perform better on achievement tests and get better grades. Actively engaging in your child's education through a parent/teacher conference is one way to achieve this goal. Following are some tips to achieving a successful parent/teacher conference:
- Be prompt, but remember some conferences do require more time. If you know that the 15 or 20 minutes scheduled for you won't be enough time, let the teacher know so that he/she can schedule accordingly.
- Address concerns and comments that your child may have shared with an open mind that the teacher may be able to offer insight into what your child has shared. The purpose of the conferences is to clarify issues first and then work together for their resolve.
- Be aware of your own feelings. It is natural to feel anxious, excited, and defensive when hearing someone evaluate your child. The parent and teacher share the same goal for the child-to show positive growth in all areas.
- Feel free to take notes and ask for a follow up conference further clarification or planning is needed.
- Ask if there are further supports needed. The teacher can access additional professionals (psychologist, social worker, speech therapist, etc.) if there are concerns that either the parent or teacher needs more information.
- The teacher should have clearly discussed grading and homework policy, as well as classroom behavior expectations. You should be informed of how your child is doing within these expectations.
- Make sure communication is open-how and when you prefer to be contacted (work, home, cell phone, or email).
- Parent/teacher conferences are an effort to promote communication and open discussion on meeting the needs of your child. Please share issues at home that may be impacting your child during the school day. If you are uncomfortable sharing during the parent/teacher conference you can ahead or speak with the school psychologist or social worker for questions and insights on typical behaviors or reactions to family events.