During a parent-teacher conference, parents only get about 30 minutes of an instructor’s time. This may hardly feel like enough when it comes to a child’s education, and in order to make the most of it, here’s a checklist to help you prepare for this important meeting.
□ Keep a Folder of Your Child’s Work
Not sure where to stick assignments other than the fridge? Get a folder and place everything a child brings home in there. This organizes report cards, notes, and other classroom documents. When it comes time to meet with the teacher, all a parent has to do is find this folder to track progress since the start of school.
□ Talk to Your Son or Daughter
As the conference gets closer, parents should set aside some time to talk to their child, finding out if there’s anything they should ask the teacher. This would also be a good time to find out about a child’s favorite and least favorite subjects and any troublesome areas. All in all, a chat with a child just gives the parent a way to gauge how to address this meeting.
□ Write Down Questions
After a chat with the child, parents should write down questions they want to ask. Once they’re in the meeting, it may be hard to remember everything they wanted to say. If a child has a babysitter after school, a parent may also want to ask him or her for any general observations before going into this conference.
Some sample questions may include:
- How is my child doing socially?
- What areas of improvement would you suggest (academic or otherwise)?
- What are some strength areas?
□ Have a Point and Aim to Stick with It
After writing down questions, if parents discover they have particular issues they want to address, they should prioritize some matters over others—after all, they only have about 30 minutes. While some brief small talk can be exchanged, parents shouldn’t feel bad for just getting straight to their biggest concern or concerns, especially if it’s something they’re worried about.
□ Maintain a Good Attitude
Parents don’t want to go on the defensive, no matter the issue. They should address the teacher with respect and not let emotions rule them. Ultimately, the goal of the meeting is to help the student. Parents should refrain from entering a meeting with a chip on their shoulder because it may prevent anything from being solved.
The Bottom Line
Parent-teacher conferences may seem like a nuisance sometimes, especially when parents’ schedules can get jam-packed throughout the school year. But they’re very valuable in helping parents and instructors learn more about the home and class lives of a student.