A parent teacher conference is an excellent opportunity to communicate with your child's teacher! Conference communication should flow both ways, be sure to ask questions and provide pertinent information about your child to the teacher. The following discussion points should be on every parent's list!
2. Past Positive School Experiences
Perhaps your child had a great experience in a previous school year that can be replicated by this teacher. If your child had more success sitting in the front row, or learned well from a teacher who incorporated music and drama to reinforce the curriculum, then share those positive experiences with the current teacher during the conference.
3. Unique Home Situations
If there is a family illness, a new baby, or any changes at home that may color your child's school behavior or learning ability, then give the teacher a heads up. Knowing what is going on at home will help the teacher be prepared to handle situations that arise at school in a more proactive manner.
4. Special Needs
If your child has any special needs, you likely had a discussion or two at the beginning of the school year. The conference is a time to follow up on key items or issues. As a parent, you know your child better than anyone, so hearing about your child's special need straight from you is best.
5. Your Concerns
It can be difficult for a parent to share a concern with the teacher, but the parent-teacher conference is the perfect opportunity for you speak openly and honestly about your concerns face-to-face. If you are worried that your child is being distracted by a peer or doesn't understand the math lesson, then the teacher needs to know. After you respectfully share your concern, it will give you and the teacher the chance to problem solve together.
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2. In Which Areas Does my Child Need Improvement?
No child is perfect, so ask the teacher about areas for improvement. If your child needs extra help with spelling words or is struggling with math facts, there may be something that you can do to provide extra support at home to facilitate improvement. Ask for specific resources to help in the area of concern.
3. Is My Child Giving His/Her Best Effort?
Sometimes grades are not the most accurate reflection of effort. Be sure to ask about effort across all academic areas to get a clear picture of your child's attitude during the school day.
4. What is Your Teaching Style?
You may THINK you know the answer to this question by now, but allowing the teacher an opportunity to give you insight about his or her style and methodology could be a huge eye-opener. The more you know about the teacher's style, the more prepared you will be to provide support and reinforcement at home.
5. How Can I Help?
Teachers are always happy to hear from parents who are willing to provide help and support! Your child's teacher may ask you to help directly by reading with your child at home, or by volunteering in the classroom. Any help you provide will enhance your child's educational experience.
Creating a checklist of topics to cover for the parent-teacher conference will allow you to make the most of the communication time with your child's teacher. Your preparation will show the teacher that you are ready to play an active supporting role in your child's education.
Stacey Whitney is the mother of two teenagers and owner of WordsFound, a content company.