How to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parents’ Guide to Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parents’ Parent-Teacher Conference To-Do List:
- Plan ahead. Determine what you need to know.
- Make a list of questions. Review them and prioritize them.
- Identify goals. Find out what the teacher expects from your child and why.
- Listen to the teacher. Focus on responses and be ready to follow up.
- Seek at-home strategies. Request tips on how to improve learning at home.
- Plan regular updates. Set a schedule for regular feedback on your child’s progress.
- Get answers. Review your original list of questions before you leave.
For Parents: Questions to Ask at Parent-Teacher Conferences
- What is my child expected to learn from your class?
- How are grades determined?
- How do you measure progress?
- When can I expect progress reports?
- What is my child doing well in your class?
- What does my child struggle with in class?
- What are the problems that my child has in those areas?
- What can I do to support your instruction?
- How would you describe my child’s demeanor in class?
- How does my child get along with classmates?
- How much does my child participate in class?
- Are there any opportunities to improve their behavior?
- Do you have any questions about my child’s special needs?
- Do you think my child has a sense of their strengths and challenges?
- Has my child’s special needs affected how others treat them?
- Does my child need extra accommodations during class?
- Does my child understand reading and writing assignments?
- Does my child need an ESL tutor? Where can they receive help?
- Has my child’s language barrier affected how others treat them?
- How can my child improve reading and writing skills outside of school?
Teachers’ Guide to Parent-Teacher Conferences
Teachers’ Parent-Teacher Conference To-Do List:
- Set the agenda. Send a list of discussion topics in advance to parents.
- Be prepared. Do your homework and know everything you can about the child.
- Be welcoming. Sit at a table with parents so that you are meeting as equals.
- Maintain the three Ps . Be polite, positive and professional to set the meeting’s tone.
- Identify what is expected. Work together to set common goals for the student.
- Listen to the parents. Focus on responses and be ready to follow up.
- Plan regular updates. Schedule regular feedback on the student’s progress.
- Set a time limit. Prevent getting stuck in an unproductive cycle of discussion.
Parent-Teacher Conferences During a Crisis
- Open with a positive note. Highlight what the student has accomplished and what they have to look forward to as the school year progresses.
- Note a challenge as an opportunity to grow. Provide possible remedies to address challenges, such as make-up material or alternative lessons.
- Be flexible. Understand that both students and their parents are navigating a crisis and unanticipated challenges will arise.
- Involve the student in discussions. Particularly when students are having challenges, allowing the student to participate can give them agency in seeking a resolution.
- Provide an avenue for follow-up. Rather than just receiving feedback, parents should be able to respond and have discourse about their child’s education.