Make the most of a parent-teacher conference
Friday, October 18th, 2013
Issue 42, Volume 17.
understanding of what they can do to help their child succeed.
In preparation for the parent-teacher conference, remember that these meetings are on average only 20 minutes in length and shorter even for middle school and high school students. Parents should plan on covering only a few topics. When putting together a list of questions, parents are advised to discuss their most pressing concerns first.
Parents may consider asking some of the following questions about their child:
• How is my child socially? How does my child interact with other children and adults?
• What are the standards for my child’s grade level? Where does my child fit within these standards?
• How are my child’s work habits? Does he/she complete his work on time?
• Do you feel my child needs extra help with any particular subjects?
• How much help should I provide on homework assignments? How much time should my child spend on homework each night?
For middle and high school students, including them in the conferences is a great way to build a sense of responsibility and ownership in his or her learning.
If the student is not participating, have a discussion beforehand with your child to determine his or her concerns. What would he like for you to askhis teacher? What does he like best about school?
What subjects are of greatest concern?
Parents may also consider telling teachers about any significant changes in their family, such as a family move, the death of a pet, etc. Parents might also want to share details about any important after-school activities the student is involved in, such as an after-school job, sport, or tutoring.
When preparing for the conference, remember to:
• Establish a rapport with the teacher. Go to the conference with an open mind. Listen to what the teacher has to say and then ask your questions.
• Try not to get defensive. The goal of the conferences is to see how each student is doing and to see how we can all work together to help each student succeed.
• Make sure to take notes.
• Leave with a plan of action. What does your child need in order to succeed and what actions are being taken by the teacher, the parent, and the student to help get him on track.
When discussing the conference with the child afterwards, remember to stay positive. Stress the accomplishments and efforts of your student and be direct about any problems that were identified. Continuing to keep in touch with the teacher, even when things are going well, can play an important role in helping your child do well in school.
When a child knows parents and teachers are regularly working together, the child will see that education is a high priority requiring commitment and effort.
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