Be prepared and open-minded in your approach to the conference with your child's teacher, but also remember that you are your child's best advocate.
By Judy Molland
Think of the first conference of the school year as a chance for you and your child's teacher to establish rapport as teammates and figure out how you will work together. The conference provides a forum for you to explain your child's strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, interests and activities, as well as your own special concerns. Equally important, this is your opportunity to hear the teacher's perspective on your child's school performance and interactions with other children.
Many schools schedule a specific time for each conference. If you can't meet at that time, let the teacher know right away and arrange a different time. When you come, be punctual. During the conference stick to the allotted time frame; other parents are waiting for the next time slot, and the one after that. The most useful conferences are those in which both teachers and parents stay calm and try hard to work together for one purpose: to help the child do well.
Use the following tips to ensure your conference is a success:
Following Up After the Conference
- Discuss the conference with your child so she knows what you've learned and how you plan to work with the teacher.
- Share any compliments the teacher has offered about your child. Keep a positive tone, even when talking about a problem.
- Follow through at home, as you have agreed to do.
- Stay in regular communication with the teacher, and get in touch when you need more information on your child's progress.
- If you are not satisfied with the teacher's responses, do not hesitate to schedule a meeting with the principal. Remember: You are your child's best advocate.
Also in this series:
Getting Ready for the Conference
AUDIOCAST: Expert Judy Molland talks to us about how you can prepare to make the most of this important meeting. Listen now.
- Education Terminology Guide: Ever feel like you need a translator at your parent-teacher conferences? Here's a helpful sampling of K-12 Terminology.
- Who’s Who in Your Child’s School