Parent teacher conferences can be a nerve wracking experience the first couple of times, especially if the teachers have anything negative to mention about your child. These meetings are important tools for parents to learn about their child’s strengths, weaknesses, behavior and needs. A parent should be well prepared when going into a parent-teacher conference to get the most out of it.
Remember that the people you are speaking to are on the same side as you. You share the common goal of ensuring your child’s success as a student and growth as an individual. Show respect and appreciation for the teacher.
Do not Blame the Teacher
Taking criticism can be difficult. It can be even more so when the one being criticized is someone you love, especially your own child. If your child’s grades are slipping or he or she is causing problems in or out of class, understand that the teacher is not telling you this to insult you or your child. Additionally, remember that it is not automatically the teacher’s fault if something is going wrong. Your first reaction to hearing something negative may very well be anger, but taking it out on the teacher will only prevent them from helping you help your child.
The teachers you speak with during a parent teacher conference will do their best to tell you everything they think you should know. With that being said, don’t be afraid to ask questions if they haven’t addressed a topic you were curious about, or if you want more information about something. Consider making a list of things to bring up during the conference, as well as bringing a notepad along to write down questions as the conversation progresses so that by the end, you have all of the answers you need.
Being genuinely concerned about your child’s education experience will naturally lead to a more productive conversation with his or her teachers. If you are aware of an issue your son or daughter has outside of school that might affect his or her comfort or focus during class, bring it up and ask the teacher(s) if they have noticed it causing any issues. Likewise, if your child’s educators mention something concerning, be sure to get all the details so you know if your child is uncomfortable or struggling.
After the parent teacher conference, take the knowledge you have gained and put it to good use. If you found out that something has been distracting your student during school (or even outside of school) sit down with him or her and have a serious talk about it. If your child turns out to be doing fantastic in every way, consider some kind of positive reinforcement.
The point of a parent teacher conference is to assess the status of your child as a student. Teachers want to help your child just as much as you do. Keep this in mind, be sure to ask questions, and take initiative afterwards. By following these five tips, parent teacher conferences will be much more productive for you and your student.