Are YOU Ready for Parent-Teacher Conferences?

Tips to make sure parents are prepared for this important conversation

By Melissa Hucal October 17, 2013
It won’t be long before the note comes home in your child’s backpack inviting you to school for conference with the teacher. Without a doubt, teachers have been busy preparing for these conferences for weeks as they evaluate the work and behavior of our kids. But is there any work for us to do as parents? The answer is a resounding “YES!” 

Whether it’s the first or fifty-first time meeting the teacher, we can help by putting in a little extra effort before walking into the classroom. And it’s as easy as A-B-C!

Ask your child for input. Regular conversations with your child about the school day can help cue you in to both successes and areas of opportunity. If you sense anxiety in any one area, it’s a good starting point for conversation with the teacher. Being involved in nightly homework – even if it’s just a quick check – is also a great way to assess both strengths and weaknesses of your child … and get a good handle on what they are learning! Some other questions you can ask: What books are you reading? Who do you eat lunch with each day? What’s your favorite thing about your teacher?

Be ready with questions. Want to know how discipline is handled in the classroom? Just ask! Interested in learning how you can supplement classroom learning at home? Ask again! A parent-teacher conference is not simply a download of information from the teacher. It’s a two-way conversation; so don’t be afraid to speak up. Having your questions prepared ahead of time – even written down – will make the most of the limited time.

Communicate openly. Walk into the parent-teacher conference with a vision of creating a mutually beneficial plan – beneficial to your child, beneficial to the teacher and beneficial to you. Everyone is on the same team, so use the wisdom of the teacher along with what you know about your child to create plans for classroom success. Make sure all your questions and concerns are addressed. If something was missed, request a follow-up meeting. Keep those lines of communication open between you and your child’s teacher. Find out the best way to keep in contact – written notes, email, texts, etc. – and let the teacher know if there are changes at home (positive or negative) that may impact your child during the school day. And ask the teacher for the same information in return.

With just a little preparation before the conference, you can create a positive experience that will impact your child for the entire school year!