Middle School and High School: Parent Teacher Conferences That Work
This is a great time to speak with the teacher (s) to find out how your child is progressing in school and what you can do at home to build on strengths and support in challenging areas. Also, beginning in middle school, the focus starts to shift toward college. Knowing what to ask your child’s teacher will help them be prepared for the educational challenges ahead.
BEFORE THE CONFERENCE:
1. Be on time. You will have a limited focused time with the teacher, so make the most of it by being prompt.
2. Decide what you would like to discuss with the teacher and write it down before hand.
3. Involve your son or daughter as much as possible. They will be participating in the conference so to make it an invested learning experience the teachers have “front-loaded” the following questions:
a) What have you done well?
b) What challenges have you faced?
c) What goals have you established?
d) Have you thought about what you can do to improve?
e) How can the teacher help you?
f) What can we as parents do to help you?
Discussing these before the conference will encourage them to take ownership of their learning.
DURING THE CONFERENCE:
1. Understand that the teacher may have questions for you, in order to know how to best support your child.
2. Ask the teachers how you can support your child at home and strengthen or add to their knowledge base. Find out exactly where they need to be in Math, English and other academic skills by the end of the semester.
3. Develop an action plan before you leave. If needed, set up a plan of how to check your child’s progress and make sure to follow up on the plan.
Working as a parent-teacher team can set the stage for making a successful school year.
Elementary School: Parent-Teacher Conferences That Work
Conference time lets people important in the life of a child share their insights. Parents can find out about the child’s progress in school. Parents and teachers can work as a team to support the child. Use some of these tips to get the most out of Parent-Teacher Conferences.
1. Before the conference day, talk to your child about school. Find out what is fun, interesting, hard, or worrying. Ask your child if there is something special s/he wants the teacher to know.
2. Jot down reminders or questions to bring up at the conference.
3. Arrange the reminders or questions in order of priority so the most important ones get talked about before time runs out. If there is a significant issue that needs attention, you may need to make more than one appointment.
4. Think of your whole child. Conferences are not devoted exclusively to academics. Consider your child’s personality, friendships, behavior, and attitude toward learning.
5. Share relevant family information that helps the teacher understand your child. Perhaps there is a new baby, serious illness, particular religious customs, and so on.
6. Arrive promptly for the conference appointment. Leave on time out of respect for other parents’ appointments.
7. Ask how you can support your child’s learning at home.
8. If a concern is mentioned, find out what strategies are working at school. Make suggestions about how you handle the situation at home. Develop a plan with the teacher. Make a follow-up schedule for the plan, such as another conference in a month or weekly emails, to check if the plan is working.
9. After the conference, share compliments and praise from the teacher with your child. Sometimes it is appropriate to share concerns and plans to help the child. Sometimes there is information that is best kept between the parents and teacher.
When a child knows parents and teachers are working together, the child sees education as a high priority. For further information on Parent-Teacher conferences, check here
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