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Parent-teacher conference tips

August 23, 2018
Mollie Toppe , MOV Parent

Attending a parent-teacher conference is one of the best ways to get information about your child's education. It is also a way to form a partnership with your child's teachers. Both you and the teacher are working to help your child succeed. By working together it will help everyone achieve this goal. Getting ReadyA great way to begin this partnership with the teacher begins long before a conference. Many schools hold an event for parents at the beginning of the school year. Attend the open house, welcome back or family night at the start of the year. This isn't a time to discuss specifics about your child, but a more informal time to meet the teacher and other school staff, visit your child's classroom, see some of their work from the first weeks of school and meet other parents. The teacher may take some time to explain what the class will be doing in the following year. Examples of this are:

Open house is a good time to ask about the best way to communicate with the teacher phone, texts, email and notes in the backpack or assignment book. For calls or in-person meetings, check what time would be best.

Also, don't forget to ask the way the teacher plans to communicate with you.

Some schools will schedule parent-teacher conferences in the fall. However, if you feel the need to talk to your child's teacher, you may request a conference anytime throughout the year.

It can be intimidating to have a meeting at school. It can bring back memories of your days as a student, which may not always be pleasant. Try to remember that you and your child's teacher are there to support your child and that you want what is best for him/her.

Come prepared for the meeting. It is helpful to bring a notebook. Before the meeting, take some time to write down the questions you have. If there are specific things you want to tell the teacher, write those down too. If your spouse or another of your child's caretakers cannot attend at the meeting, ask for their concerns or questions. Also take time to talk to your child about anything they want to tell you about school or any questions they may have.

During the Conference

Every teacher will run the meeting differently, but here are a few things that may be discussed:

As a parent, it is important for you to ask questions. Some ideas or suggested questions to ask are:

This last question may be the most important. After all, you and the teacher are working to help your child do his/her best in school. The teacher's ideas will be your action plan for helping your child at home.

After the Conference

Once you are home, begin by praising your child for something positive the teacher said. Then start working on any plans you and the teacher discussed. Be sure to share the plan with your child. You want your son or daughter to know that you and the teacher are working together so he or she can succeed.

Finally, be sure to keep in touch with the teacher. You could start by sending them a thank you note or email for the conference. Continue to review progress reports, homework and returned classwork. These are all tools you can use to stay informed about your child's progress. Maintaining a strong partnership with your child's teachers will help your child get the best education possible.

Sources:

Project, H. F. R. (2010). Tips for Administrators, Teachers and Families: How to Share Data Effectively. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from hfrp.org/publications-resources/browse-our-publications/tips-for-administrators-teachers-and-families-how-to-share-

PTA, N. Making Parent-Teacher Conferences Work for Your Child. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from www.pta.org/programs/content.cfm?ItemNumber=1710.

Mollie Toppe is a WVU Extension agent for Wetzel County.

 
 

 

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