Parent-Teacher Conferences: Tips for Parents

Instructor: Derek Hughes

Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.

Parent-teacher conferences are an incredibly useful time to ask questions and gather information about your child's education. This lesson will provide you with tips to help make the most of these meetings.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

A parent-teacher conference is a meeting that takes place between parents and their child's teacher. These conferences are usually scheduled after report cards get sent home and serve as a time for parents and teachers to discuss the students accomplishments and areas in need of improvement.

Mary has a son, Brian, in Mrs. Wu's second grade. Therefore, she is a pro at attending parent-teacher conferences. This lesson will follow her through a typical parent-teacher conference and the tips she follows to make them as successful and productive as possible.

Tips for Parents

1.) Attend the conference if given the opportunity.

First and foremost, Mary always attends Brian's parent-teacher conferences. She believes that these meetings are critical for helping improve her son's school experience. Without attending the conference, Mary would be in the dark about a lot of the things that happen in Brian's classroom. She also wouldn't be able to form a solid partnership with Mrs. Wu if she didn't take the time to meet with Mrs. Wu whenever she has the opportunity.

2.) Discuss concerns with your child beforehand.

Before Mary attends the parent-teacher conference, she likes to spend some time discussing school with Brian. This conversation gives her the opportunity to get his perspective so that she can best represent his interests in the meeting. Mary asks Brian why he thinks he achieved the grades he did on his report card, what he thinks his strengths are, and what he thinks his weaknesses are.

3.) Come prepared with questions and concerns.

After discussing the report card with Brian, Mary also writes down some questions she would like to ask during the meeting. Often, Mary finds, that there is little time during the meetings, and the cue cards help her stay on track and get all of her concerns addressed.

4.) Treat the teacher as a partner, not an opponent.

Finally, when its time to attend the meeting, Mary reminds herself that she and Mrs. Wu are partners. They must work as a team in order to help Brian get the best education and opportunities he needs to succeed. Mary finds that, during the meetings, it is sometimes easy to slip into a combative frame of mind because she is so passionate about helping Brian achieve his goals. By reminding herself that she and Mrs. Wu just both want the best for her son, she can make the meeting more successful.

5.) Go in with a problem-solving mindset.

Along with thinking of Mrs. Wu as a partner, Mary also goes into the meetings ready to help solve problems. Any concerns she or Brian have can best be addressed through problem-solving with Mrs. Wu, not arguing or trying to step on toes. As long as Mary goes in with a good attitude, she knows her concerns will be addressed and Brian's education will be better for it.

6.) Don't be afraid to question the teacher.

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