Tips for a Successful Parent-Teacher Conference September 24 2009

Last year was my first Parent-Teacher Conference as the parent of a first-grader. I was more nervous as a parent than I ever was as a teacher at these conferences.

A valuable piece of information before you arrive is that teachers feel a little anxious about conferences, too. If they’ve met parents, it’s usually been during a limited time-frame or not at all. Many teachers also have children of their own, so they know what it’s like to listen to someone talk about their child or children, and the news isn’t always good.

So as a teacher approaching conference time now as a parent, there are a few tips that can make the experience more pleasant and successful.

Make a List

Before you go, make a list of questions you have about your child’s development, classroom routines, and how your child is doing so far this school year. Don’t forget to ask what specific ways you can support learning at home. Write down some ideas you have that could help the classroom; maybe you know a possible source for fundraising or you want to volunteer in the classroom. Ask if there are any specific material needs you could possibly provide. Before you leave the conference, look over your list to make sure your questions and concerns have been addressed.

Write it Down 

As you and your child’s teacher discuss your questions and concerns, write down the answers and any agreements you come to regarding your child’s behavior or academics. It’s often difficult to remember, especially in a stressful or time-constrained situation, exactly what was said. Make notes of any additional questions you have as a result of the conference.

Follow Up

 Communicate with the teacher regarding any decisions made at the conference. If available, sending an email is usually the easiest to use when communicating with a teacher. Include any questions you had as a result of the conference.

The relationship between parents and teachers is critical when it comes to your child’s education. Having a successful conference is a step in the right direction.