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How to Get the Most from Parent/Teacher Conferences

November 02, 2018
By The Siena School
Parent/Teacher conferences are a powerful occasion for meaningful communication with your child’s teachers. You may only have 10 minutes with each teacher, so make sure you’re on time, prepared for and engaged during the conference. Here are some tips and questions to make the most of your conferences:
 
Try and prioritize topics to address with each teacher before you go to the conference, since time is so limited. We recommend writing down a list of questions to go over during the conference. To think of some questions, talk with your child before the conference. Explain that this meeting is to help them, and to not worry about the conference. Ask your child:
  • What are your strongest and weakest subjects?
  • What subjects do you like the most and least?
  • Is there anything specific you’d like me to ask your teacher?
During each conference, listen carefully to what the teacher says. Write down key information you’d like to remember or questions you want to ask at the end of the conference. If you don’t understand something the teacher is talking about, like an educational term or an explanation of a school policy, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. It is important to understand what your child’s teacher is telling you. If there is a problem that needs addressing, ask your teacher to work with you to create an action plan which may be implemented in the classroom and at home. Here are some questions you may ask each teacher:
  • What is an important goal for [child’s name} in your class? How have you communicated this to them?
  • If there was one tool or strategy you wished [child’s name] used, what would it be? What can be done in class and at home to encourage this tool and/or strategy?
  • What should we do to support you at home?

You may also ask teachers what authentic assessments they are providing in their classrooms. Authentic assessments are assignments that give students multiple ways to demonstrate proficiency and real world applications for their skills apart from traditional tests and quizzes.

Following the conference, discuss what you learned with your child by emphasizing positive points and being direct about problems. Make sure to follow through with what was discussed during the conferences at home, especially if an action plan was created.

Parent/Teacher Conferences are incredibly important to develop a communicative relationship with your child’s teachers. Remember that the goal of each conference is to help your child be successful in and out of the classroom. Be sure to ask lots of good questions, and encourage your student at home, you are an important part of the educational equation to help your child get the most out of their educational experience.