Bringing Out the PC: 5 Tips to Get the Most from Your Next Parent Conference
Parent conferences can be a great communication tool, so preparing to make the best of this time with teachers can go a long way. Professionalism and collaboration (not the PC you were thinking!) are the keys to getting the most from parent conferences. Consider that teachers spend the majority of the day with your children and these professionals are eager to collaborate with you to help your child and the rest of the class succeed. Here are five tips to get the most from your next conference:
Communicate in advance.
Share concerns you have with the teacher before the conference. This allows them to prepare ahead of time. While you may only be preparing for a few conferences (depending on the number of children you have); teachers are preparing for a class full of conferences.
Respect time limits.
Whether your conference is one of many during a conference night or planned during a teacher’s conference time, your conference likely has a time limit. You may not be able to have all your questions answered in one meeting. Schedule a follow up meeting rather than rush through your concerns or run over time which could impact someone else’s scheduled time.
If a teacher requests a conference, ask for information ahead of time.
Remember you and your child’s teacher are partners in your child’s success. Ask a few questions so that you can be prepared:
- Are the concerns academic or behavioral?
- Should other teachers (co-curricular), the school counselor, or administration be present?
- Depending on the age of your child, should he or she be present?
Ask your child what he/she thinks the teacher may say at the conferences.
Ask your child what they like about their classes and share this information with the teacher. Often students will share information that you may not have known about.
Keep an open mind.
Look at the conference as an opportunity to get advice about your child from a professional. While you are an expert on your child, your child’s teachers are experts on how children at that age learn and behave in a school setting.
Even if you have no concerns and don’t feel a conference is necessary, take time to check-in with your teacher occasionally. Teachers are called to this ministry because they love children—your children. Your feedback and opportunities to collaborate with these professionals help our teachers continue to create an environment where your children can grow in the love of Christ, joy of knowledge and spirit of service.