Parent/Teacher Conferences take place at most elementary schools on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 13 and 14. It's finally your chance to talk to your child's always-too-busy teacher!
Some elementary schools allot as little as ten minutes (which in my opinion is absurd!) so you want to make the most of whatever time is offered. I've had some ridiculous meetings, where families want to chat about recently viewed movies, share recipes or talk politics. It's all fine if we're socializing, but we're not – these are precious minutes to be used to focus upon one thing: your kid.
Here are some ideas to help organize yourself to get the most out of the Parent/Teacher Conference. (and watch my video below for more tips)
1. Before you get near the door of the classroom, talk to your kid. See if there are any questions they want you to ask, or if they can think of anything the teacher might talk about in the meeting. How do they feel they are doing in school?
2. Be prepared. Show up on time. Bring questions and something to write with so you can jot down answers. Teachers love a well-prepared parent. And you can write down that important point that you'll be sure to forget.
3. Be complimentary. Even if you despise the teacher, try finding something they've done that you appreciate, even if it's that he or she brings the kids down for dismissal on time. Don't start out the meeting in attack mode.
4.If you can, review the report card before you meet. Since the report card is the handrail that many teachers use to guide the conference, it's best if you can look it over beforehand and develop questions about your child's performance to bring to the meeting. Otherwise you're trying to ask questions while reading the report card for the first time.
5. Listen. Pick up tips that you can use at home. The teacher is spending a lot of time with your child so it's worth it to listen up and discover what your kid is like during those hours. Does the child the teacher is discussing sound like your kid? I've had many students over the years that act one way at home and another way at school. I have used parents' tips to help me in the classroom and vice versa.
6. What happens next? Before you leave the meeting, be sure you feel there is a game plan for what happens until the next conference, or until the end of the year. What can you work on with your child at home? What is the teacher going to do?This is a meeting of the minds – make sure when you leave you feel like you know more about your child and what is going to happen in the coming months of school.
7. Consider bringing your child along. I enjoy having students attend conferences (unless there is a particular need for privacy). Who better than the student to talk about what is happening in class? And the amount you can learn from hearing your child speak to their teacher will be amazing. Ask your child's teacher if you can bring along your son or daughter.
See more tips in the video below!