A parent–teacher conference is a time when the important people in a student's life work together to discuss ways to help him/her achieve success during the school year.
Talk with your child: Find out which subjects your child likes the best and the least. Ask why. Also, ask if there is anything your child would like you to talk about with the teacher.
Make a list: Before you go to the meeting, make a list of topics to discuss with the teacher. Think about the following:
- Questions about academics and behavior
- Concerns about the school's programs and policies
- Share what you think the teacher needs to know about child's life at home, personality, concerns, habits and hobbies - and other topics that may help the teacher in working with your son or daughter
During the Conference
In order to help your child have a successful school year, you need to know what is expected of him or her. Below is a list of five questions many parents find helpful to address during the conference.
1. What skills and knowledge will my child be expected to master this year?
• What is my child learning this year in key subjects?
• How do teachers inform students about the academic standards they're expected to meet? What kind of projects and assignments have teachers planned that will help my child meet higher academic standards?
2. How will my child be evaluated?
• What kind of information do teachers use to evaluate students?
• How are grades determined in the classroom?
3. What can I do to stay more involved in my child's academic progress?
• What can I do at home to complement what is happening in the classroom?
• How can I support teachers' efforts?
4. How do you accommodate differences in learning?
• How is the teacher using differintiated instruction in the classroom?
• Are there tutoring, or other programs, available for students who need more
5. How are older students prepared for further learning after high school?
• Are children encouraged to think about a wide variety of career interests?
• How is this class preparing my child college?
Develop an action plan: If the student needs help with a behavioral or an academic issue, you and the teacher should agree on specific plans—that you both will work on—to help your child do better. Be sure you understand what the teacher suggests. Set up a way to check on your child's progress. You and the teacher can decide how best to stay in touch, such as through phone calls, notes, or additional meetings.
After the Conference
When discussing the conference with the child afterward, stress the good things that were covered and be direct about problems that were identified. If an action plan is in place, explain to the child what was arranged. When an action plan is in place, consider the following: Watch your child's behavior and check on classwork and homework. Ask how the student feels about schoolwork. Stay in touch with the teacher to discuss your child's progress. Express appreciation as progress is made.
When a child knows parents and teachers are regularly working together, the child will see that education is a high priority requiring commitment and effort.
From the National PTA and NEA.