It's parent-teacher conference time. This is a time for parents to get caught up on everything their child has been up to in school so far. It can be a very rewarding time for both parents and teachers as they become familiar with one another. Here are our strategies for teachers to become better prepared for a successful meet and greet with their students' parents.
It's good to expect parents to show up with a positive attitude. However, keep in mind that you may encounter frustrated parents of a challenging student. It's important to approach these situations calmly and patiently.
- Let the parent release their frustrations. Don't go on the defensive. Allow the parent to speak their mind. They will want to hear your response afterward.
- Clearly explain the situation to the parent. Explain why his or her child is having trouble in your class.
- Explain to them which steps have been taken to rectify this situation, and which steps will be implemented in the future.
You will want to leave parents with a sense of understanding and a clear plan moving forward.
Get to Know
The point of a parent-teacher conference is to communicate your classroom goals as well as update parents on their children's progress.
- Be open to new ideas. Parents may approach you with suggestions specific to their own child's learning style. These suggestions may be good to implement to the class as a whole.
- Be organized. Have your materials ready ahead of time. These can be project grades, test marks, or just observation notes you've compiled.
- Make sure each student has their own folder containing these materials. You'll want to have everything you need in a place that you can easily and quickly access.
Being organized not only puts the parents at ease, but it will make you more confident while discussing each students' progress.
End each meeting on a positive note. You'll want parents to leave the meeting feeling confident in their child's progress.
- Make sure to follow-up each meeting with a thank you.
- If a parent did not attend the meeting, make sure you contact them directly with notes on their child.
- Ensure your contact information is up-to-date. Regular communication with parents moving forward can only benefit everyone involved.
- Take any notes you gathered during the meeting and implement them into your lesson planning and classroom management.
Use these printable handouts for your parent-teacher conference. Get tips on how to properly communicate with parents, as well as important questions to be prepared for. Complete a conference worksheet to give to parents at the end of the meeting as a take-home information sheet of things discussed. Give parents a survey to encourage involvement in their child's classroom.
For more tips and strategies, check out these other resources:
Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences - Education World
Parent-Teacher Conferences - Eric J. Gabor, Kids Health
Teacher Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences - Scholastic