How to Prepare for a Child’s Parent Teacher Conference
Preparing for your child’s parent teacher conference is important for a number of reasons.
A parent teacher conference is almost like going to an important doctor appointment as you are going to learn a lot of things about your child’s development and learning.
You will only have a short amount of time to talk to your child’s teacher during this conference.
If you are prepared it is going to be more beneficial to you, the teacher, and your child.
Here are some of the best tips to get ready and be prepared for your child’s parent teacher conference.
Know the Steps to Take Before the Conference
There are some steps that you will have to take before you are ready for the conference.
Step 1 – Get Your Appointment
Setting your appointment time for the conference is important and you should do this as soon as possible to ensure that you get a time that works for you, your child’s other parent, and the teacher.
Step 2 – Talk to Your Child
Before you go to the conference ask your child how things are going.
Talk to them about what they are learning and ask them if there are things that they might be struggling with.
Step 3 – Write Questions
If you have any questions for your child’s teacher make sure that you write them down.
This is important so that you do not have to worry about if you are going to forget them. Writing them down will help you to remember them all.
Step 4 – Who Will Be There?
Ask the child’s teacher if other teachers will be present or if you have to book appointments with them separately.
This can help you to make sure that there is no confusion.
Making the Most of the Conference
Of course there are some things that you can do to make the most of the time that you spend with your child’s teacher during the conference.
Only Talk About Your Child
The importance of the conference is to find out information about your child. Make sure that this is the focus of your time in the conference and that you are only talking about your child.
Get to Know the Teacher
Getting to know the teacher and allowing them to know you is one of the best things that you can do for your child.
Tell the teacher what you are willing to do with your child at home as well as what you are willing to do in the classroom.
Doing this can allow you to have opportunities that might not be available if you are not up front telling the teacher about your interest to participate.
Remember There is No Reason to Defend
It can be hard to sit through a conference when your child is not doing well.
Do not be defensive with the teacher, share what you are willing to change and what you can do to help your child.
Take Paper and a Pen
Make sure that you have something with you that you can take notes on.
Check Out the School
Walk around the school and get a feel for how things are there. Sometimes a school might be open and friendly while other times it might be more stringent or hard.
Sometimes if your child is in the wrong environment this way it can stifle them and cause them to have learning issues that they would not have in the other environment.
Make Sure the Teacher Knows Important Home Information
If there is a major change going on in the home, make sure that your child’s teacher is aware.
If you are getting a divorce, having a new baby, or moving your child’s needs to know what is going on.
It is also a good idea to share with your child’s teacher if there is a death of a close friend or family member.
Talk to the Teacher About School
Your child’s teacher is going to be well versed in how to care for your child at school and in helping your child to learn better.
Do not get off track by talking about other issues facing your child.
It is a good idea to be involved with your child’s school.
Let your child’s teacher know ways that you can get involved.
Also ask about parent groups and find out that information about when they meet so that you can do as much as possible for your children.
Have a Plan
When you leave your child’s conference you should have a plan of action about what you will do next.
This will include how you are going to handle certain situations and what you need to work with your child on at home.
Survival Guide for parent-teacher conferences
Parent-teacher conferences it can be stressful for parents and for teachers
The key though is good preparation so today key questions for parents to ask teachers from a woman who knows what it’s like sides of the desk.
Judy cohen is an academic coach and tutor and she’s also an author and former teacher and she specializes in organization and study skills
This is not something that would have occurred to me as being something to prepare for as in going to maybe the doctor’s office but it is equally critically important maybe night we shopping out your son is how old he’s not quite two he’s one and a half so she hasn’t she hasn’t shown once i’m gonna know exactly again a very important thing to prepare for.
So let’s talk a little bit about making those preparations
okay it’s the number one thing that you need to think about well you have to get a different mindset
this is a business meeting it’s a business meeting between you the teacher and your child let’s think of it as that so you prepare for it you’re a manager the teachers a manager your child’s the employee if the managers work together and you have open lines of communication your employee is going to succeed but come into this business meeting prepared.
So I suggest right three to four major issues you want to talk to the teacher about but you don’t need to write it down
is my child listening in class when you’re speaking
is my child taking notes does my child complete homework on time
is my child social to the other children appropriately.
Okay, I’m gonna stop you there because that that’s huge
The first three things you said we’re you know homework is
Is my child completing tasks on time all those things and I always wonder is it okay to ask the teacher a question about how they how they interact socially.
I’m glad you brought that up
A lot of parents want to know
Do other kids like my child
Is my child a leader is my child to follow her
Does the child have friends
Does my child have friends and you know kids act differently in school than they do at home.
Where teacher they saved the best for you teachers going to pick up things because she’s had the experience of seeing so many different kinds of children and their personalities and she might give you some hints on what to do with that home
but you have to remember you have 15 to 20 minutes you have a time parameter just like a business meeting to get your business accomplished
and you have to be aware that this teacher is going to give you things to work at home as a business person you’re going to write down suggestions so you can go home and talk to your child using her language
One of the most areas that are questioned all the time is the math curriculum
So math is a language it’s taught very differently today ask that teacher that could be one of the issues you want to speak about
how can I help my child with the math homework.
Tell me the words the phrases that you’re using in class so I can use them at home
I guarantee you that will eliminate a lot of math frustration with homework that is so vitally important and like you said the language is so different today but I remember being in high school and my dad teaching me all of these shortcuts.
He’s a scientist and then going back into my calculus class and getting not getting very good grades because I wasn’t doing it the way the teacher wanted it done for the assignment.
I have so many kids it’ll say to me,
my mom and dad got that answer but they didn’t do it right.
Right there they didn’t do it
That way exactly so that’s a major issue you need to speak to the teachers about and write down what the teacher is telling you and I like the wording you use.
Because instead of parent-teacher conference right, you say please talk calmly or parent-teacher communication yeah because the communication is is so key.
So let’s talk about some do’s and altai so you mentioned write down what the teacher is saying exact words and phrases you also say be cognizant of the time frame absolute the door will be shut you know that it’s your time and appearance going along and there may always struggle with do you knock do you announce that you’re there absolutely right.
You have to be aware of that time parameter lots of teachers have timers and parents get upset when that timer goes off but to remember it’s only 15 to 20 minutes
If you don’t accomplish your goals at this business meeting the last thing you do is you schedule another meeting and please don’t schedule that during a teachers lunch hour teachers really don’t have a lunch hour break they need a break
They work with kids they talk to parents they do emails schedule it at a time that’s convenient for all of you to sit down and talk and tell allegedly about this issue those are the do’s the don’ts let’s talk about
Don’ts do not bring a dog or a pet with remember you’re there to speak about your child not to run around the classroom with a pet
let’s talk about little children and babies, I know things come up babysitter’s get sick you can’t get there unless you take the kids
Bring another child, ask a neighbor child to come with you.
But the moment you bring a baby or a toddler into that conference that distraction is magnified
It’s about that child, not that the baby needs a bottle or a diaper change
let’s about to appear to have a dance class with parents walk to schools to get to their parent conferences and they take this angelic little pet with them you get into the classroom and this thing starts yapping, that’s a distraction.
Let’s about other don’ts
Oh my don’t blame
No blaming other children
Do not talk about other children
Do not talk about curriculum that you don’t agree with
Do not talk about the school board you don’t like
This is about your child and your child’s success
If you feel that you are so emotional because this is a very emotional time when someone is telling you things about your child you may not want to hear or you don’t know hold it together
When you get in your car you can cry yeah go home and cry
But please hold it together
If you feel you need to talk more to this teacher never hesitate to have another meeting
Teachers want these lines of communication
That’s why I call it not parent-teacher conference parent-teacher communication when those lines are open your child will definitely succeed in school
Bring yourself a cookie to eat after oh that’s a ginger cookie cookies water coffee they really appreciate it they’re sitting there talking for hours and hours and hours and you know they go back to back to back to back
I think that’s a great gesture
I think yes
I would have never thought about that plus they might think your kid is a little better if you give them a nice latte there’s something like that and the other key
I know you say because we ran out of time is listen you’ve got to listen to the teacher before you respond a lot of parents go in doing all the talking and don’t make small talk you say this is not a social chitchat that’s open house this is not about your hair the earrings you’re wearing
This is about your child so save those remarks
It really is a time to talk about your child
Please delve into that like any other business meeting and turn off your cell phone
Oh my goodness the best one yet
Yeah no cell phones
Turn em off for 15-20 minutes turn off your cell phone you can do that safely you know where your child is yeah
Most likely absolutely that’s cool and I’m not Judy because she tutored my kids in writing
As found on Youtube
We’re here to talk today about the end of the marking period and parent teacher conferences.
So some tips to allay some of this anxiety before the conference, and reflecting on the report card grades.
Tip number one: reflect on your own anxiety as a parent, caregiver, or guardian.
Take stock of how you’re feeling about your child’s progress.
Are you feeling frustrated, either with your child or with the school?
If you’re experiencing feelings of anger, that’s ok, but just be very aware of what the root of that is, so that when you go in and you go to talk to your child, you’re able to have a really constructive conversation.
Tip number two: ask your child’s perspective.
Find out what they think is going really well, one question i would suggest is what do you think your teacher might say some of your strengths are what do you think your teacher might say you can improve upon?
This is a good opportunity to hear their side and their perspective.
Tip number three: get your child’s input on questions or concerns they have for the teacher or teachers.
So you’ll be writing a list that you’re going to take with you to the conference, you want to make sure that that includes questions that your child has.
Tip number four: share your pride,
Let your kid know, whether they’re an elementary school student or middle school or high school student, let them know what you see are their strengths.
Tip number five: remind and remember:
this is for both you and your child, you’re all on the same team, so let them know that when you go to talk to the teacher you’re really going to exchange information to find out how they’re doing from the teacher’s perspective and for you to advocate on behalf of your child.
Tip number 6: review your child’s work before you attend the conference.
So take a look at samples that you have, whether they’re tests or projects, take a look at them and if you have questions about how they were graded or you’re concerned about the amount of effort that went into it on your child’s part, take a look and take those questions in to the teacher and the conference.
So tip number 7, I’ve already said it, but make a list of questions.
Tip number 8: make a list of your child’s strengths, challenges, and needs for support.
So certainly you know your kid better than anybody else, so list those strengths. Also if there are any relevant changes in your home life and their home life, a new sibling has arrived or maybe there’s been a recent divorce or a death in the family, these are things you if you feel comfortable sharing, you may want to share.
Tip number nine: reflect on your own involvement,
so take some time before you go into think about, am I doing too much for my child?
Am I doing too little?
So just taking stock of your own involvement and then as you go to the parent-teacher conference, you can talk more about how can we continue to support my child most effectively together as a team.