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Parent-teacher conferences can be a bit unnerving for parents regardless of how many times they’ve attended. It can be difficult to cover all the questions you have in a short period of time, and you may even leave the conference feeling like you weren’t able to accomplish much. However, there are practical steps you can take before, during, and after parent-teacher conferences to ensure you have all the information you need to support your child’s learning.
Before the Conference
Parent-teacher conferences are often set up such that parents have precious little time with each teacher, in many cases 10-15 minutes at the absolute most. In order to get the most out of your appointment, come to the conference prepared. Begin by reviewing your child’s grades beforehand, including their report card, any progress reports, work your child has brought home, and any comments your child’s teacher has made on his or her homework. Gathering as much information as you can ahead of time will allow you to formulate questions to ask your child’s teacher and be ready to dive into the discussion once your appointment time arrives. Some possible questions to ask include:
- Is my child performing at grade level?
- What are my child’s strengths? Weaknesses?
- What can my child do to improve academically?
- What can I do to help my child improve academically?
It’s important to be prepared whether your child is doing well or poorly. On the one hand, if your child is struggling you’ll need to be familiar with why this is so, and examining his or her work can give you some insight into those reasons. It also allows you to be more informed ahead of time so you can ask your child’s teacher specific questions with regard to how to most effectively help your child boost his or her achievement. Conversely, being prepared when your child is performing well will allow you to utilize your appointment time to inquire about extended learning opportunities, such as clubs or organizations, or other non-grade issues such as behavior or relationships with other . . . read more
“The teacher is always the first go-to person, especially with questions about curriculum,” VanZant explained. Teachers can also be the best contact for questions about discipline, behavior and social issues, unless another school employee is specifically appointed for this purpose. For example, Greenwood Elementary has a parent liaison that is specially trained to work with parents on these matters.
- Changes to school structure, including more teachers, larger school building and faster pace
- Changes to body image, as students begin attending school with others who are basically young adults
- Changes in friends, as students head to different schools and different classes than those they grew up with
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