Parent teacher conferences, though a dying practice, are essential components to
helping kids do as well as possible academically, emotionally, and socially during their
early schooling years. That 30 minutes appointment with your child’s teacher is the best
way for you and your spouse and your child’s teacher to get on the same page about
your child’s development. Here are 5 tips to help you get the most of your conference.
When you know you have your conference looming, start preparing. Take plenty of time
to develop a thorough list of questions or concerns to discuss during the meeting. 30
minutes will fly by so the more prepared you are, the more effective and efficient your
meeting will be. Ask your child about school, the teacher, the class, friends, and anything
else leading up to the conference. This will not only let you see school through your
child’s eyes, you’ll also be able to write down any concerns over what your child has to
Do your best to pick a time when both parents can attend the conference and then
don’t forget to go! Many teachers report that parents ditch conferences way too often. If
you can’t even make it to one 30-minute conference a year, what does that show your
children about the importance of education?
Start the meeting by listening to what the teacher has to say and make sure you actually
listen. No one is questioning that you know your child better than anyone else but by
giving the teacher the chance to talk about his or her areas of praise and concern, you’ll
get the chance to see your child from another’s perspective. Give the teacher a chance
to say what he or she wants to say and then begin a discussion. The teacher’s goal is
helping your child so even if negative comments are made, it’s not out of a malicious
The teacher expects, and hopes, that you come to the conference with some ideas to
discuss and they definitely expect to hear any concerns you have about your child, the
class, and the teaching philosophy. If you show up unprepared with no opinion of your
own, the teacher can’t hear about your child from your perspective and loses the chance
to hear about anything going outside of school that could help the teacher support your
child best while he or she is at school.
After your conference, you’ll probably still have plenty of questions. Especially once
you’ve gotten home and had some time to process everything you talked about in that
quick 30 minutes or less, consider sending an email or setting up a phone call to work
out any remaining questions and issues.
If you leave the conference worried about your child’s academic performance, you
could always consider taking some online courses that will help show you how to
tutor or even teach your child at home to supplement his or her education. Discussing
this and anything else you can do at home to help during the conference will give you a
guide for how much help the teacher thinks your child needs outside of class.