Fall parent/teacher conferences offer an opportunity to establish a collaborative relationship between you and your child’s teachers. Now that teachers have had a chance to learn more about your child’s academic strengths, challenges, and disposition, this is an ideal opportunity to create a joint vision for the school year.
Pre- Conference Preparation
- Prepare for conferences by reading and viewing materials sent home from your child’s teachers about their class. You will then go into conferences to clearly understand the goals/ objectives and the instructional approach.
- Be sure to have daily conversations with your child about what’s happening in their classes. Don’t just ask, “How was your day?” Ask why a specific class experience was successful, challenging, interesting, complicated, etc., and keep probing deeper into why. Initially, you may be met with resistance; however, persistence will pay off.
- Ask your child what they would like you to discuss with their teachers; discuss with your spouse/partner what you’d like to talk about during conferences. Creating a few questions or talking points in advance helps to focus the conversation.
During Parent/Teacher Conferences
Listening to Understand | Sharing Your Important Insights | Asking Clarifying Questions
- Both teachers and parents/guardians should come into conferences with mutual respect for each other’s roles in the conversation and assume positive intent.
- During conferences, listen for information about your child’s academic experiences, progress, and challenges. Listen for teachers’ observations about your child’s social and emotional wellbeing in the context of their classroom.
- Ask clarifying questions to deepen your understanding of the information/insights shared by teachers.
- Bring teachers up to speed by sharing your insights into what your child is sharing with you about what’s happening in the classroom and its impact on your child at home.
Question for Reflection:
Given you’ve heard and the responses to the questions to the questions asked, ask yourself,
- What is my following up at home as the parent/guardian?
- What additional support may your child’s teachers and the school provide?
Affirming Our Partnership
Teachers expect you to be the advocate and champion for your child. In fact, teachers consider themselves your partners in this. View parent/teacher conferences as a way to solidify this partnership to create transformative learning experiences that help your child to make academic progress, thrive socially and emotionally, advocate for themselves, and gain agency.
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