Preparing for Your Parent Conference
If you have a child in school, you’re likely about to have your first face-to-face conference of the year with your student’s teacher in the near future. Parent involvement can play an important role in a student’s success. The parent conference is part of that involvement and a good time to build and solidify this crucial partnership for your child.
Experts agree it’s a good idea to outline some good questions and think about what you’d like to discuss ahead of time. Here are some ideas for inspiration:
1. During the conference, let the teacher know you want to partner with them to ensure your child’s success. Remember that you are the expert and know your child the best, but go in to the conference with an open mind and belief that the teacher has your child’s best interest at heart.
2. Share anecdotes about your child that demonstrate their uniqueness. Talk about hobbies and interests. Talk about your home life. Share what you LOVE about your child. Share work habits, styles, energy levels. Does your child like and need frequent breaks? Have lots of energy and needs to move often? Likes to graze or snack throughout the day? Lay down while reading or writing as opposed to sitting at a desk?
3. If you know or suspect your child is having problems, plan to ask the teacher where he or she might feel the difficulty is beginning? Is it the bus ride? The playground? The lunchroom? Issues there can spur the same kinds of problems, so honing in on where the problem is occurring might help. Ask the teacher about his or her observations and discuss what’s different about previous behavior and the new problems. Listen closely and ask questions that might help you understand.
4. Work with your child’s teacher to help her develop strategies that can help your child on the road to success. Share your most helpful tactics about ways to provide successful feedback to your child. Ask your child’s teacher about his/her thoughts about strategies s/he would like to try to help with behavior management, student involvement or types of communications that might positively help your student.
Finally, remember that you each are invested in the success of your child and you each have some great information to share. Use the parent conference to build a solid partnership to help your child together.
Deanna Glick has spent two decades as a writer and editor, covering education policy, adoption, and other issues of interest to children and families. Deanna has also worked and volunteered for youth-focused nonprofits, including Students Run LA and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. A California native, Deanna loves to hike sections of the Appalachian Trail and spend time on the Shenandoah River near her Northern Virginia home. She often finds writing inspiration through her 8-year-old daughter, who loves to read, paint, play sports, and learn.