Part II: Conferences
This session will last approximately 75 minutes.
Parent- Teacher Conferences
Parent conferences are necessary to ensure that all parties (principals, teachers, parents, and students) have an open line of communication. These conferences can be initiated by either the parent or the teacher, but it is important that the meeting have clear objectives. No matter the reason for the conference, the best interest of the student should always be the major focus.
Before the Conference
- Communicate with the parent either by phone, email, or letter
Taking the time to contact parents shows them that you have clear objectives and not
an ulterior motive. Just like us, parents appreciate a "heads up" before diving into
situations.Usually, parents want to resolve the issue just as much as you do.
- Share the guidelines for Parent-Teacher Conferences in your School
Send parents a pre-generated list of conference questions, so that they are prepared to
actively participate in the conference. Many times, parents look to teachers to explain the situation. They may not know what to ask and when; giving them time to think about
what questions they want answered will lead to a more productive meeting.
- Organize the student data that you intend to present
Have any student work samples ready for parents to view.
- Practice what you will intend to say
Tone can mean everything. Taking the time to practice what you will say will ensure that
your verbal and non-verbal ques are conducive to an effective relationship.
- Create a General Parent Conference (Make sure that it is adaptable to the various reasons that you would contact parents)
- Read the Article, "What to ask at a Parent Teacher meeting."
- Pull at least 10 questions and format them into your parent conference letter
During the Conference
- "Little Johnny has been doing exceptionally well in math class. I have seen an increase in his participation since the last time that we talked."
Share your concerns
- "I am concerned about Mary's science grade. It seems as though she is not understanding the concepts as well as she did during the 1st Nine Weeks."
Back your concerns with evidence (student data)
- "Here are Sam's last three test grades. I have noticed that he has not been answering all of the questions."
Verbalize the reason for your concern & how it can impact the student in the future
- " Sarah hasn't been eating lunch at the same table lately. I was wondering if there may be a problem that we need to address. The teenage years are hard for many students, but I want to make sure that we [school, teacher, parent] do all that we can to support her."
Invite parents to create a plan of action with you
- "What do you think that we should do to correct the issue?" "What are some things that worked for Joe in the past?"
Make sure that you have up-to-date contact information for the parent
- "Can I make sure that I have the right phone number for you?"
Mock Conference Activity
- There is a number on the bottom of your chair, please find it. (Either 1 or 2)
- The 1's and the 2's will pair up and role-play a parent teacher conference.
- The 1's are the parents and the 2's are the teachers.
During this activity, use the Before, During, and After the conference tips. You will have 20 minutes to complete the entire activity. Be ready to share your reflections afterwards
After the Conference
- Follow-up with the parent within a week of the conference. Be sure to thank him/her for attending and for willing to work with you to address the situation. Sandwich your comments: A positive remark, An Area of Concern, Another Positive Remark
Invite the Parent to Volunteer in your Classroom
- Successful conferences open the door to a great opportunities for parents to join you in your classroom as volunteers. Take advantage of the opportunity and watch the number of parents that you see on a day to day basis increase!