Parent teacher conferences can feel like a tooth pulling event for both the parent and the child. For the parent, it could be difficult hearing things about your child that you may not like. For the child, it can be nerve wracking because they know you are discussing their progress, and depending on how well they are moving forward, it can cause tears for young ones. Simply put, parent teacher conferences aren’t always pleasant experiences. But never fear—as a parent of both a 16 year old and a 6 year old, I have had my share of parent teacher conference and I have learned how to get the most out of them.
Be an Active Parent to Begin With
Don’t just rely on the parent teacher conferences as a time when you are updated on your child’s progress and grades. You should already be well versed in this by communicating with your child and your teacher throughout the school year. Always check your child’s folder for notes, graded papers, homework assignments, etc. Make surprise visits at the school and see how your child is adapting. Communicate with the school staff and let them know by your actions that you are involved with your education. The better involved you are, the more you will know about your child’s progress and there will be no surprises during the conference.
Always ask questions to get a better understanding of the curriculum and what is being asked of your child. Use the conference to enlighten your knowledge about your child and be active in the conversation.
Be Able To Take Constructive Criticism of Your Child
Yes, we all think we have the smartest most well behaved children in the world. But most of us have children that are less than perfect. Listen to the feedback the teacher is giving you and do not take personally the information that is given to you. Most teachers want to help your child, not hinder them, so if there are things that need improving work with the teacher and not against them.
Ask for Examples
If a teacher says something during the conference about your child’s development, attitude, grades, behavior, always ask for examples. Not to start a debate with the teacher, but so you can get a better understanding about your child and what may need to be worked on. It can help you better grasp any problem areas.
No teacher wants to talk real talk with a parent that is stiff and anxiety ridden. Relax. Smile. Get to know the teacher. Communicate in a pleasant manner. This conference is for the betterment of your child.
It is hard to retain all of the information that is given during conference. Bring a small notepad with you and take notes when needed.
It is not only important for you to be supportive of your child, but of the teacher as well. If the teacher has put forth a plan of action for your child, support the teacher and make sure that action plan is followed at home. A teacher’s job can be done that much better if there is support in the home after the bell rings.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Your Child
If you are given less than stellar remarks during conference, do not be too hard on your child. Process the information. Think about it. And then come up with a plan that your child can follow that will improve their progress. Being harsh and mean after the conference will only frustrate the situation. Think long term, not short term.
I follow these tips for both of my children when it comes to parent teacher conferences and I feel that it helps me and my children get the best out of them. Try them out for yourself and see how they work for you!