Teacher-parent conferences need not cause sleepless nights or reduce you to tears. Keep in mind that the point of teacher conferences is to open the doors of communication and to keep you abreast of your child’s academic progress and conduct in the classroom. Whether the meeting is a report card conference or a simple follow-up discussion, take advantage of having all the teacher’s attention by coming with a brief list of questions or points to highlight.
You may or may not have enjoyed school as a child, but you will do yourself, your child and the teacher a favor if you approach the teacher-parent conference with an open mind and a positive attitude. If you have history with this teacher, resolve to keep emotions out of the discussion. Stick to the facts and strategies that support your child’s progress in the classroom.
Prepare Yourself with Facts
Your child may insist that every day goes swimmingly at school, but these impressions are not facts. Collect samples of your child’s work, tests and major projects so you understand the type of assignments in classroom, the quality of work your child does and the results of key assessments. If you have any doubts or worries, you need not wait until an official conference date to discover issues with your child’s performance or behavior. Call or email the teacher, or ask if you can check in with her briefly after school. You can also request that the teacher contact you with any concerns.
Prepare an Action Plan
You may have a wonderful discussion with your child’s teacher, or you may have nagging doubts about a specific area. Either way, you and the teacher should agree to an action plan regarding your child’s academic work or conduct. Establish short-term and long-term goals that support your child and keep you informed of ongoing progress. For example, if the teacher says your child reads below grade level, ask for specific strategies you can employ at home to boost your child’s reading speed, comprehension or motivation. Request an update regarding how your child performs during ongoing assessments, both formal and informal.
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