5 Tips for Preparing for a Parent-Teacher Conference


5 Tips for Preparing for a Parent Teacher Conference Maria Arbiol Contributor Miami Moms Blog

It’s that time of year again. The birds are chirping, flowers blooming, and families and teachers are counting down the days until summer break. It’s also the final push in school, time for testing season, and end of year celebrations. For most parents, talking to their teacher about their child’s progress happens at drop-off and pick-up or during a random bump-in at a store. But how many of us actually schedule a parent-teacher conference with our teachers just because? Not many! Most of us will go a full school year without truly knowing the details behind those quick convos just because we trust in the words – they are fine.

As a previous school site administrator, I wanted my teachers to respond to the question, “How are they doing?” with “Let’s schedule a time to talk.” A hallway conversation is not enough when we are talking about education. This year, I’m urging, I’m pleading, for all of us to schedule a conference with our teachers to hear from them and be able to prepare an action plan for summer. Below are a few tips as you prepare to meet with your child’s teacher(s):

Schedule the meeting via email.

Dear Teacher, I would like to schedule a conference to talk about my child’s school year, strengths, areas of growth… Give a few options for days and times that work best for you. If you don’t hear back, follow up!

Make sure all parties are involved.

Married, divorced, single, abuela, the tutor, the therapist, make sure everyone is at the table. The telephone game can’t be played when it comes to our child’s education and the message won’t sound the same coming from you. It’s also great to have different people who are involved to be able to get the full picture of how they are doing and what everyone can do to help. It might be difficult to find a time that works for everyone, but even having someone on speaker phone helps.

Come prepared!

Sit down before the conference and draft a list of questions. Think about stories your child has shared, struggles you’ve witnessed, times they’ve said, “This is easy!” Ask about social, emotional, and organizational skills, and ask questions about the whole child. Make sure to pull out that sheet of paper as you settle in so that you don’t forget anything. 

Talk about the whole child.

Begin the conference by seeing what they do during the school day. Ask to see their work, their journals, some of their assessments. Then, make sure they show you “data.” All schools will have given your child an assessment that compares them to others in their grade level. Start there but don’t stop there! Numbers should not be the only thing you talk about. Teachers spend hours with our children and their informal observations are often the best. Always remember that many of our children act one way at school and another at home. Figure out how you can make connections between school and home and keep transitions smooth.

End the conversation with a positive action plan.

You should walk out of the conference knowing what the teacher will continue to work on this school year. You should also have a few things you and your village can help reinforce. Think outside of books and computer programs; how can your child reinforce and review skills during summertime using real-world scenarios?

I know that we will all agree that a successful child stems from the work done both at school and at home. The stronger connection you can have the deeper conversations you’ll hold with your teachers. Ready to pull your calendars out and start scheduling? What tips would you give fellow parents as they prepare for the end of year conference? Drop them below!


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