Parent/teacher conferences can feel challenging. Frantic work schedules and overwhelming family commitments can make it difficult to schedule a conference, much less get to it on time! In addition, some parents revert to their “inner child,” feeling intimidated about sitting down with the teacher, especially if they are sitting in little chairs! Here are some tips for having an effective and anxiety-free conference with your child’s teacher.
- Remember that you are in partnership with the teacher. Even if your student isn’t excelling, good teachers genuinely want to strategize with you in order to benefit your child. Approach the teacher as a partner and advocate, not an adversary.
- Be respectful of the teacher’s time and energy. Arrive to your conference on time, and end your conference on time, so that the schedule does not get backed up and affect other parents. If you feel that you need more time to chat with your child’s teacher, ask for another appointment.
- Prepare some questions, comments or topics of concern ahead of time. Write them down, if you need to. Preparation goes a long way toward making you feel “heard.” Ask open-ended questions during the conference. Instead of asking, “How is Jimmy doing in math?” ask “What can Jimmy do to improve his math skills?” Open-ended questions facilitate conversation.
- Communicate with your student, both before the conference and after. Letting your child know that the conference mattered to you, and that you are invested in their academic progress, is fundamental to developing a child’s relationship with academics.
So, try to embrace parent/teacher conferences! The most important things to remember are that your investment of time is a huge positive message to your child, and that the teacher is your partner.