Parent-teacher conferences are a milestone event in the school year. Parent-teacher conferences give parents and teachers a chance to build connections they’ll use throughout the rest of the school year. A productive conference helps develop a partnership to ensure students have the support they need at school and at home.
Both Teachers and Parents want to see children succeed. Parent-teacher conferences can bring forth concrete ways and resources children need to be supported at school and provide concrete ways for parents to support their child’s learning at home. Sometimes parent-teacher conferences uncover new challenges and through the parent-teacher partnership, there are strategies put in place for parents and teachers to work together to solve them.
Parents working shift jobs or even multiple jobs aren’t always able to make time to attend a conference, even if they want to. Please know that teachers work very diligently to provide a multitude of time and/or format opportunities for conferencing which works best for both the parent and teacher.
Tips for a Successful Parent-Teacher Conference
Have a Conversation
First and foremost, a parent-teacher conference is a conversation, not a confrontation. It’s important for both parents and teachers to be supportive during the conference as both of having a common goal – the child’s progress and success. In this way, the meeting can be viewed as a collaborative session between teammates. Like any productive conversation, a good conference should involve both participants listening and speaking. The teacher will most likely lead the flow of the conversation. It’s important for teammates to actively listen to what each other says. Notes can be taken so that they can be referred to at a later time and reflect actions that require follow-through after the conference ends. Questions should be asked and information shared about the child when it fits naturally into the conversation. And if there is something that isn’t clearly understood, follow-up questions and further explanation is always welcomed. Towards the end of the conference, the team should read through the conference notes and bring up any items that may have not been mentioned. And teammates shouldn’t forget to discuss anything a child asked to be shared during the conference!
The Next Steps After a Parent-Teacher Conference
The final couple minutes of the conference should be spent developing an action plan for how the parent and teacher will best support the child going forward. This may include scheduling a follow-up meeting to further discuss anything that came up during the conference which couldn’t be fully covered in the allotted time. Both the parent and teacher should review the things that each can do to support the child as well as any expectations that need to be communicated with the child.
Before leaving the conference, make sure each of you knows the best method of contacting the teacher and determine a timeframe for when you will next check in on your child’s progress.
Family engagement is vital to student success. Attending the parent-teacher conference shows the child that they are cared about and what goes on at school, as well as opens a dialog with the parent and teacher.