5 Things to Do Before You Go to Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher conferences; what did you learn about your child?

Most conferences cover the academics, is your child doing well in school? That means can they pass the tests and do they turn in their homework? You also probably learned about your child’s social skills. Are they making friends, being “too social” (talking too much) or getting lost in the crowd?

As a teacher, I loved the opportunity to talk with parents about their children. As a parent I was very intimidated and nervous about those conferences until I understood them and myself better.  If your child is not on an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or a 504 accommodation plan then you may not interact with your child’s teacher very often (unless there is a problem). So when you arrive at these conferences you may be not be ready for what comes up.

You are part of the team that involves your child, the teacher, the department of education and you. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides the goals that your child needs to attain (they call them standards) at each grade. If your child is not learning these, then their grades will show it. Your teacher is part of that equation, but your child is the other part. Teachers cannot force your child to learn but they can find other ways to make sure that they are getting the skills and knowledge they need. Your job is to make sure that things at home are calm and helpful and that learning and homework are taken seriously. You provide the help when the teacher cannot.

Recommendations for your next parent teacher conference:

  • Review your child’s recent work. Notice any trends, weak areas and strengths so that you can talk about them with your child first and then be prepared to discuss them with the teacher.
  • Talk with your child about how things are going in school. Get specifics about who are his friends, what does he like best about school and what is the least favorite part of school. You may have to advocate for your child as they may not be comfortable advocating for themselves (ex. can’t see the board, can’t hear other student comments, being “bothered” or bullied by a classmate, etc.) so be sure to get details.
  • Keep track of how long your child spends on homework. Ask how the homework is graded (checked off or actually reviewed and graded).
  • If your child struggles with homework, write down some of the strategies you have tried with him or her and be ready to ask for other suggestions from the teacher.
  • Ask about teacher expectations and you will find out what is important to your child’s teacher. If your child meets those expectations, then they will probably get good grades.

Teachers are concerned with how your child is learning when compared to other kids in the class. It often does not concern them if you think your child is not working to their potential as long as they are on par with their peers.

Watch your child study for a test. Do they tend to read and reread the chapter and then do poorly on the test? Or do they really know how to study different subjects using their learning style and strategies that work? If you think your child is working hard and is still not getting the grades then it may be because they haven’t really learned how they learn best. The End Homework Hassle E-Learning Course sends daily emails to your child and organizes, teaches and coaches them through skills and strategies for learning. Help them work smarter and not harder by learning the skills they need to succeed. More information can be found at www.endhomeworkhassle.com

Thanks for reading. As always I welcome your comments below.