Parent-teacher conferences are a great way for teachers and parents to communicate with each other. They provide an opportunity for teachers to identify and highlight to parents their child’s progress, areas of strength, and areas of growth. Parent-teacher conferences are also a good way for parents to participate in the school system and in their child’s education.
Generally, conferences are held three times per school year. The first takes place early in the school year to provide parents with an opportunity to share any pertinent information about their child with his/her homeroom teacher. The second and third conferences are academic in nature and are held after the progress reports go home. They are held at the end of the first and second terms. They are fairly short in duration, lasting usually about 15 minutes. Therefore, in order for parents to make the most of these conferences, parents are encouraged to come prepared with questions.
Before the conference
Parents should review their child’s progress report and make note of any concerns or questions about the grades or the corresponding comments listed. It is just as important for parents to discuss the progress report and school in general with their child and ask them how they think they are doing and what they like and dislike about each subject. To help familiarize themselves with what their child is learning and areas of difficulty, parents are encouraged to look over homework throughout the year so that come conference time, they will know what to discuss. Preparing questions for the teacher ahead of time will help parents feel more at ease by making sure nothing is forgotten or overlooked.
At the conference
During the conference, the teacher will typically review the progress report with the parent and show samples of their child’s work. The teacher will also bring to the parent’s attention to recent successes and will raise any concerns as well. Since the parent-teacher conference is not only an opportunity for the teacher to give the parent a report on their child’s progress but also an opportunity for parents to get involved, parents should ask about their child’s strengths and areas of growth and find out about problems before they happen.
Making sure to ask insightful questions will ensure parents make the most of their conference time and gain the most valuable information.
In addition to asking teachers questions during the conference, it is also beneficial for parents to provide them with feedback on the work the teachers are doing. Teachers need to hear about the positive things about their class and their teaching. Parents should let them know how much their child enjoys their class, or how their child is enthusiastic about a particular subject. At the same time, parents can raise concerns they might have about the program.
While parent-teacher conferences can be a learning experience for parents, they can also benefit the child. Parents should talk to their child after the conference and let them know what was discussed. Stress the positive things the teacher said about them and their work. They should also discuss how they and the teacher are going to help with those areas where improvement is needed. This will help the child feel more encouraged.