10 Tips to Get the Most out of a Parent-Teacher Conference

In the America educational system, parents and teachers meet at least once a year to have a parent-teacher conference, to discuss the unique needs of each child, and how they can work together to help the student achieve success.

While the intention of these meetings is to foster communication, many parents await them with trepidation because they’re unsure of their role in their child’s education, and don’t know how to get involved. The most productive parent-teacher conferences end with a solid plan of how to move forward, but it takes a lot of work on the part of both the parent and the teacher to get there.

If you’re going into your first parent-teacher conference this year, or just want a refresher, here are some tips on how to get the most out of a parent-teacher conference this year.

1. Be informed before you go

When you get the notice for the impending parent-teacher conferences, it’s tempting to add it to your calendar, then forget all about it until the day arrives. The best way to ensure that the parent-teacher conference is a success is to prepare for it in advance. Look back through all of the tests and homework your child has brought home, and see where they’re struggling or succeeding.

Pay close attention to any grading rubrics you have access to, and see what system the teacher is using to evaluate their pupils. Read through your child’s curriculum for that particular class, and make sure you’re familiar with the upcoming material. That way, you won’t use up time during the conference asking redundant questions.

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2. Talk to your child and ask for their input

A few days before the parent-teacher conference, sit down with your child and ask whether there’s anything they want you to bring up with their teacher. Even if they’ve been honest with you about their opinions of the teacher or class, there may be relevant things that they just haven’t thought to tell you yet.

For older children, it can be helpful to ask them how they think they’re doing, and relay that information to the teacher. Ask them if they have any questions for their teacher, and even if they don’t sit in the meeting, it will help them feel more involved in their own education, and let them know that both their parents and teachers are working together for their benefit.

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