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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Making the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

By Kathleen A. Olson, Program Director, Partnering for School Success

A few times each school year, teachers and parents meet to discuss how to help students do their best in school.

Here are some tips for getting the most benefit from parent-teacher conferences:
  • If possible, plan for both parents to attend.
  • Arrive on time.
  • If needed, arrange for an interpreter ahead of time. Do not ask your child to interpret.
  • If you can't meet during regular conference hours, request another time.
  • The best conferences are those where teachers and parents work together for one purpose: to help your child do well. Parents can prepare for the conference ahead of time by thinking about ways to help their children learn and succeed in school. Consider the following ideas:
  • Ask each of your children: How is school going? What is your best subject? Why do you like it? What is your least favorite subject? Why? Is there anything you’d like me to discuss with your teachers?
  • Make sure your children don’t worry about the conference. Help them understand that you and their teacher(s) are meeting to help them.
  • Write notes about each of your children's life at home, including notes about personality, any problems, habits, and hobbies or interests you feel are important for teachers to know. Inform teachers of any situations that may affect your children’s learning, such as illness or family problems.
  • Write down questions about your children’s progress in school and any concerns you have about the school's programs or policies.
  • Ask teachers how you and the school can work together to help your children.
  • If language is a barrier for your children, ask what help is available, such as a cultural liaison, translated documents, website translations, and so on.
Set up additional times and ways to connect with the teachers, as needed, to discuss your children’s progress. Building strong parent-teacher partnerships helps your children get the best education possible.

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