Parent-teacher Conference Basics
Start the school year off right by building a relationship with your child’s teacher.
Until you get a few parent-teacher conferences under your belt, the experience can be a little daunting. But meeting with your child’s teacher a few weeks into the school year gives you a chance to get honest feedback, and it’s an opportunity to build a good relationship with them. Here are some thoughts on how to make that happen.
Get to Know Them
Hopefully you’ve already formally met the teacher, but this will be a chance to have some dedicated time with them. Remember, teachers are people too, so feel free to get to know them a bit personally. Your conversation doesn’t have to solely be about your child.
You might arrive assuming your child’s teacher will only be praising your perfect little darling, but there are areas of improvement for every child. It may be academic. It may be communication. It may be attention. Expect to hear feedback about your child – even feedback you may not like or even agree with – and see what you can do to talk to your child about it.
Come with Specifics
If there’s a specific activity or assignment your child has enjoyed – or even struggled with at home – come prepared to talk about it. Arrive with a list of topics you’d like to discuss. That way you’ll be systematic, and the chances of forgetting or omitting something vital are minimized.
Bring it up
If something is bothering you or your child, bring it up. Don’t let the issue linger by not letting the teacher know what’s going on. They may never realize there’s a problem or an opportunity if you never mention it.
Listen to Their Perspective
Just like you only see what’s happening at home, teachers only see what’s happening in the classroom, so this conference is a chance to bring together both perspectives. They may say your child is enjoying a certain subject, which they probably are, but you know they struggle doing the actual classwork when they get home.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Formal Conferences
If there’s something important you want to discuss, or an issue that needs immediate attention, make an appointment to see the teacher. Don’t wait for the next conference to roll around, and certainly don’t just drop in. It will tell them you value their time and want to discuss something in a productive manner.
To keep in touch with school policies and general issues, make an effort to attend parents’ events at your child’s school, but remember that a general meeting is not the place for raising individual issues.
Those first few parent-teacher conferences can be nerve wracking, but hopefully this will help. If you’re a seasoned mom who has been through a few of these, let us know in the comments below how a parent can approach these meetings.