My son?s first ?real? parent conference is scheduled for today. Why am I so nervous? Certainly, as a teacher, I?ve conducted hundreds of parent conferences over the years ? conference time, for us was a nice short day, where either you could get your extra work done, or chat with the teacher next door. Now, I?m on the other side of the desk and I?m working to prepare myself for the 15 min face to face. Yes, I?m one of THOSE moms. Couldn?t you tell?
A parent/teacher conference is only as successful as you, the parent, make it. It makes no sense to let the teacher do all of the talking if you have questions about your child?s performance in school. The teacher knows how your child acts in school ? you may have questions on how to bridge that gap and how you and the teacher can create a successful student together. The parent/teacher conference is not the time to bring up something your child said happened three weeks ago or last month in the lunchroom. Any issues that your child brings home to you should be addressed at that time, when the facts are fresh. Use this fifteen minute window of time to gain as much insight to your child?s school performance as you can.
In order to be prepared for your conference, here are some questions that you can bring with you to ask. Don?t be afraid to take notes, to appear like a Type A over achieving parent. This is the image you want to project- by allowing the teacher to realize that you?re on your game, will compel him/her to be on his/her game when it comes to your child. Take it from a former teacher ? there?s nothing that we liked more than a responsive parent who actually paid attention to what was said in the conference and acted on it. In addition, talk with your child before the conference ? ask him/her if there are any questions s/he wants you to ask
Here are some questions (in no particular order) that you might want to ask your child?s teacher. Feel free to pick and choose the questions that you need as some questions are more appropriate for older or younger grade levels. I have also uploaded it in a PDF for easy printing.
? What are my child?s strengths and weaknesses? What is her best/worst subject?
? What can I do to continue to support my child at home? Do you have any suggestions for materials, books, activities etc that we can use to help him?
? How does she get along with the other students? Other teachers?
? **Are there any indications of a disability or other issues? (i.e. speech, vision, hearing, learning, motor control, ADD, ADHD etc.)
? Does my child show any special abilities or affinities for art, music, writing, acting?
? When is the best time to contact you? Would I be able to contact you via e-mail?
? Are there any school/community programs from which he might benefit?
? Are there any skills that need reinforcement at home?
? How does she handle taking tests?
? Does he work well independently?
? How can I continue to support what you do in the classroom at home?
Side note: **DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT be afraid to ask this question. It is better to catch these issues early than to let them continue to affect your child?s achievement.
These are all the questions that we may think to ask when we come in for the conference, but forget to ask in the course of conversation! Print it out, take your paper in, don?t be ashamed to be a ?note taker? and a type A parent. Believe me, the teachers appreciate it.