Ten Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferences
Written by Alexandra Wade
Parent-teacher conferences are in full swing! Each school does things a little differently, so we asked faculty and staff to share their best parent-teacher conference tips:
- Try to focus on what your child is learning, versus his or her point total. The two should be connected, but it is more productive to look at course or grade objectives, learning targets and standards as a whole than to examine every missed point.
- Ask if there is anything your student can work on to become a more complete student. The teacher may see an area for improvement, even if your student is doing well. You can also share challenges your student has had in the past. Teachers like to know what has previously worked for students.
- Find out what is coming up. This can help you form more specific questions and get more specific answers about schoolwork from your student. You will also know when you need to offer more support at home.
- Ask questions! No one knows your student better than you. If the information you receive from the teacher is at odds with what you have experienced or heard in the past, raise the issue.
- Don’t be afraid to keep it short. Most parents have an accurate idea of how their student is doing, thanks to online grading. If you want to speak about a specific issue, set up a time with the teacher outside of conferences to make the process smoother for everyone.
- Bring a writing utensil and something to write on, and please turn cell phones off during conferences so you can devote your attention to the conference.
- Remember that we are a team. Students, parents, and teachers are all working on the same goal: student achievement. Parent-teacher conferences are an awesome opportunity to come together and agree on some common expectations.
Secondary – Junior High & High School
- Review your student’s grades on Infinite Campus ahead of time, so you have specific talking points and questions. You can even bring a printout for each class. If you have questions about Infinite Campus or need to have your account set up, see the office before conferences.
- Don’t forget to meet with your child’s entire team of teachers. Junior high team conferences may be in one location with elective teachers in another, and it is easy to miss them. A form was sent out through mail and on messenger with locations for each team. If you have questions, ask your student’s teachers.
- Although it is not required, you are welcome to bring your student. This often helps prevent any confusion between the teacher, parent and student, and it gives students a sense of positive ownership. If you are unsure if your student should attend, ask one of his or her teachers.
The most important thing parents and guardians can do is attend conferences. Even if you know how your student is doing, it shows your support and a value for education. There may also be opportunities to volunteer or visit a book fair during conferences, so take advantage while you can. Watch for messages that explain the conference procedure, and note if you need to schedule any conferences in advance. If you have questions, email one of your student’s teachers.
Many thanks to Eric Boyle, Justin Miller, Hannah Quandt, Joe Rich, and Katie Seiberling for these excellent tips!