Because life happens on the yard and in the classroom™
Because life happens on the yard and in the classroom™

Parents Point of View #98 How to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

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Students in all levels of learning do better when parents are actively involved.  One way of being involved in your child’s education is by attending parent-teacher conferences. Parent-teacher conferences are brief meetings that last between 10 to 30 minutes. These meetings usually occur once or twice per year. Most schools set aside specific dates and times for the conferences, but they are adjustable if they conflict with parents’ schedules.  It is advisable to ask for a phone conference or Zoom Meeting if you cannot attend one-on-one meetings.

Parent-teacher conferences work in your child’s interest, and therefore, proper preparation is vital before attending them.  As mentioned above, the encounters are pretty brief (usually not exceeding 30 minutes), so it is crucial to use time efficiently to address significant concerns and get clarity where necessary. Here are helpful tips to help you achieve these goals.

FORMULATE QUESTIONS BEFORE THE MEETING:

When going to a brief meeting, don’t trust your memory!  If you don’t write down questions you intend to ask in the forum, you will likely forget them. Write down and prioritize questions based on their importance.  You can consider having a running list in your calendar or day planner in the weeks before the meeting. Keep adding concerns or questions as they arise, then prioritize as explained below.

PRIORITIZE:

Since time is limited in a parent-teacher conference, bring up the most crucial questions and issues first. This way, the teacher will get time to address your main concerns before time lapses. Once you highlight your main problems early, the teacher will also know how to tailor the meeting to address your needs.

SEEK CLARITY:

Your child’s teacher may use complex education terms that may hinder your understanding.  Do not shy away from seeking explanations over issues or words that are not clear. Ensure that you are on the same page with the teacher; otherwise, the time spent in the meeting could be in vain.

STAY CALM:

Maintaining calmness during the conference, especially when learning new insight into your child’s academic life, will support the bigger picture. You can, for instance, take deep breathes when you are about to lose your calm. Also, be respectful to the teacher since your child’s success is dependent on the relationship you have with their teacher. Nevertheless, if you disagree with an issue, speak it out; else, the teacher will assume you don’t have problems or concerns.

SEEK CLARITY ON YOUR CHILD’S RESULTS:

One of the agendas in a teacher-parent conference is to discuss your child’s test and assessments results. Some of these results impact the child’s final exam, and therefore, you should seek more clarity on how they affect your child’s performance. Also, please discuss with the teacher ways to improve their weak subjects.

IDENTIFY YOUR CHILD’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES:

While teachers know a lot about your child’s academic performances, they still appreciate your observation at home.  Tell the teacher what your child struggles with at home and what they are good at at home.  Not only will you celebrate the progress, but you will also brainstorm on how to tackle their struggles.

ACTIVELY INVOLVE YOUR CHILD IN THE CONFERENCE:

If it is possible, you can involve your child actively in the conference. While you may not always get a chance to include them in the forum due to time constraints, you can get their insights, concerns, and issues before the meeting.  Despite the short time frame, ensure that your child’s needs are well-addressed since they are the main agenda of the conferences.

FOLLOW-UP:

 At the end of the conference, you and the teacher agree on the following steps to take. First, it is vital to follow up in the next week and months to know your child’s progress and how things are working out after the conference. Second, besides asking for an update from the teacher, you should share what you have been doing back at home. Importantly, please speak to your child to know their current academic experiences.

REMEMBER:

These tips are meant to help you maximize the parent-teacher conferences. Remember that your goal and that of the teacher should align for the sake of your child. At Kids on the Yard, we are determined to improve students’ school and public life performances. Our life coaches can help you maximize the teacher-parent conferences and eventually lead your child to succeed. Contact us for more insights.

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