Parent Teacher Conferences

How to make them a success!

Setting the tone for a positive partnership

Welcome each parent into your classroom with the same positive energy that you would your students. Seat yourself in a manner that is most conducive to a productive conversation (it is often better to sit beside, rather than across from as it reinforces a partnership approach).

-Foster your parent partnerships by making a deliberate effort to share the positives and illustrate how well you know their child

*Let the parents talk first!! Ask the parents how the year has been going from their perspective; what are they seeing at home? This allows parents time to reflect on how their student has been feeling/behaving as the school year moves along. Listening is often the most important part of any parent meeting, avoid the urge to justify or interrupt when the parents are talking about what they notice.

Individualize each conference

Our parents are most interested in how their child is doing socially, emotionally, and academically. Make an effort to keep the conversation productive by bringing the conversation back to the student.

Be prepared so showcase each student!! While conferences are frequently a time to talk about struggles facing our students, it is very important that our parents leave knowing their successes as well.

Looking for creative ways to showcase our students??

-Consider video evidence of student work or performance

-Have authentic work samples (student created) that illustrate strengths and weaknesses

Be solution oriented

Always convey a growth mindset. All behaviors can change given the right conditions. If you want to see changes and have concerns about a student, be prepared to offer specific, actionable solutions.

Be specific when asking for change. Telling a parent, "He's distracted a lot," is too general. Parents are often at a loss for how to help in the classroom when they are not with them during the day. Think of ways to show the parent how they can help her child or you?

Whatever support you ask from a parent needs to be something that is within her sphere of influence. Asking a parent: "Can you talk to him about being more focused?" is possible, and parents can talk and talk, but the results might be limited.

A teacher could say: "I'm concerned because your son is often distracted during independent work in my class. Here's what I'm doing to try to help him . . . . Do you see this behavior at home ever? Do you have any other ideas for things I could try? Can you think of anything you might be able to do?"

Maintain a unified front

Maintain a unified front by owning all parts of the child's day. Listen to any comments or feedback and tell the parent you are happy to share the question/information with the teacher and that they will follow up. Write down any notes that need to be shared with other teachers (Specials, Stay and Play, Extended Day etc). Please make every effort to communicate these as quickly as possible so that all teachers may respond in a timely manner.

Day of conferences

The final copy of your Conference Day schedule will be dispersed the week of conferences.

-On Conference Day, post a copy of your schedule and place 2-3 adult size chairs in the hall

-Post your “Knock” sign on your door

-To keep your conferences on time, it is helpful to let parents know when there are five minutes remaining

-If you find that a parent is late or a conference needs more time than allotted, tell the parents you will need to reschedule an additional conference. Although this may be hard to say, it is essential for all the families after that appointment.

We know the day is fast paced and long for you but the parents are so eager to hear your feedback. Your lunches will be in the teacher workroom. We hope you enjoy the day!