Parent Teacher Conference Tips!

by Rachel Stepp

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It’s that time of year again…time for parent/teacher conferences. Here are a few quick reminders of what you will need during parent/teacher conferences so that they run smoothly and on time!

Student Work/Portfolio
Starting at the beginning of the year, begin collecting your students’ work. Don’t collect and keep everything! Keep some things that students have completed with great success and keep other things that the students might be struggling with. You can keep each individual student’s work in individual binders or in a file. At the conference, this will help you because you will be able to show the parents some of the work that their children are completing and what they are learning.

Grades/Assessments
Have a list of all of your students’ grades on each individual assignment, incase parents have questions. If a child is doing poorly on certain projects, then a parent might be concerned and want to know how they can help. If you give an overall grade or average, parents might not know which topics their children are struggling with. It also helps to break the grades down into major subjects such as “tests,” “quizzes,” “class work,” and “homework.”

How to Help at Home
Give your parents concrete suggestions about how they can help their children at home. These could be ideas about cheap and easy games to reinforce math skills or some facts about the benefits of reading at home.

Questions from Parent
Always offer a time for a parent to ask questions. These questions could range from specifics about their child, lunch menus, fieldtrips or school events. If you don’t have an answer for a parent right away, then offer to call or e-mail them later in the week with the answer.

School Events
Keep a calendar of upcoming school events to show the parents. This will help them feel involved in the community and the school. Some calendars and announcements that are given to students or posted online are never seen by the parents.

Translation/Extra Support
If your students’ parents need an English translation in order to have a conference with you, make sure that it is available. Talk to your ESL teacher about having a translator and having important documents translated into native languages. This will help the conference go smoothly and accurately.

Remember to schedule your conferences ahead of time, and remind the parents about specific conference times. This will eliminate no-shows and late arrivals. Keep a phone number handy so that you can reach parents if they are late. Also, follow up with parents who do not show up for their conferences. I hope that these tips help you to make it through parent/teacher conferences! Happy conferencing!

Rachel Stepp is a graduate student at The University of Georgia and a regular contributor to A Learning Experience.

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2 Comments

Filed under Academic Success, Classroom Community

2 responses to “Parent Teacher Conference Tips!

  1. Kay Wallin

    One of the things that I keep seeing over and over again as a student teacher is document, document, document! Every contact with a parent should be documented–from emails to phone calls to brief conversations in Walmart! If we keep good records as teachers, the misunderstandings will be minimal.

  2. Great reminders before November conferences. I also like to have the children in my class write a letter to their parents. I require them to write about three things: what they like about the class, what they think their best subject is, and an area they think they need to improve. Most students are very insightful so I start the conference out with the letter which leads into my observations and documentation. The parents love hearing their child’s point of view!