The Parent/Teacher conference can either be a dreaded addition to the “must do” list, or an incredibly helpful way to be more involved with your child’s learning.
This is the first step in creating an open line of communication between you and the teacher.
- Remember what your goals are. A good framework for this is that you want the teacher to gain a better understanding of your child, and you want to gain a better understanding of the teacher.
- Talk to your child beforehand. Find out if they have any questions, comments, or observations about that particular class. This can provide valuable information to take with you.
- Be prepared with your own questions or concerns. You don’t get much time with each teacher, so the more prepared and focused you are, the more productive the time will be. Have specific questions that you would like to present.
Be understanding and patient. The teacher may be meeting with a dozen or more other parents that night, which can be exhausting for them.
- Be open to the teacher’s observations. You are there to gather information, so it’s important to really listen to what the teacher has to say. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with it all, but it’s a valuable perspective to have.
- If you feel that there wasn’t enough time to cover what you wanted to, set up a follow up meeting with the teacher.
- Also follow up with your child to touch base on what was talked about in the meeting. This is a way to pull them into the process and to help them take ownership of their learning.
It’s also nice to send the teacher a brief follow-up email, thanking them for their time, and further establishing the line of communication.