Parent-Teacher Conference Tips
By Anvi Kevany, IEA Adminstrative Assistant
It’s that time of the year for Parent-Teacher Conferences. Usually many schools will schedule the conferences during the fall.
Here are some tips including additional resources on how to have a productive and successful Parent Teacher conference.
Preparation: Before you attend the conference, make sure that you are prepared. Have a copy of the report card or progress report prior to the meeting. Many schools have online grading systems that parents can register and access. These systems may also include homework assignments and tests results.
Types of Meetings: Some schools refer to these meetings as Student Led Conferences, in which the student shares his/her work or portfolio with the parent, discusses what they have been learning in the classroom, including their progress and what they need to improve on. Some are the traditional Parent Teacher Conferences, in which the parent signs up and wait their turn to talk to the teacher.
At the Meeting: The Parent-Teacher Conference or Student Led Conference is an opportunity for parents to discuss and ask questions about the student’s work. It is also a chance for the parent to hear their student and/or the teacher talk about the class work, how the student is progressing, and some of the challenges s/he may encounter. Consequently, these types of conferences are held in group settings, usually in the classroom, and time with the teacher may be extremely limited. If the parent needs to have a more in-depth conversation with the teacher, a private meeting with the teacher should be scheduled. Do not discuss matters that may be confidential or inappropriate, when several people are present in the room.
After the Meeting: Schedule a follow up meeting with the teacher in order to assess whether or not the suggestions or action plans have been met. A follow up meeting also allows for the parent and teacher to discuss matters that may be confidential or more acceptable in a private setting. In addition, in scheduling a follow up meeting, the parent and the student may receive a progress report in a timely manner, giving the student enough time to meet the target or expectations. Often times, I have been told by parents that they wished they knew that their student was not meeting expectations ahead of time; and by the time they were informed, it was almost always too late.
As a suggestion, do not wait for the Parent Teacher conferences in order to meet with your child’s teachers. If necessary, schedule a meeting as soon as you realize that an intervention may be needed, or if you need a progress report sooner than later.
Here are additional resources on Parent Teacher Conferences:
- This article provides a guide for parents on how they can support their students during Student Led Conferences.
- This tip sheet outlines what principals, teachers, and parents can do to better prepare for and make the most of parent-teacher conferences.
- This guide provides suggestions on what questions to ask to in order to have a productive and positive meeting.