02 Nov 2012

Preparing for Teacher Conferences

Preparing for Teacher Conferences
If you have a child in elementary school, you are probably preparing for a conference next week.  If you have a child in middle school or high school, you may not have a scheduled conference, but now is a great time to schedule one. You can do so with one or two individual teachers or with the whole team.  Below are some tips on how to make the most of your parent – teacher conferences:
·         Have a plan before you go.  Your conference time is short, and the first half will be the teacher’s agenda.  You should talk to your child in advance to find out if he has any problems or concerns.  Academics are important, and so are social aspects.  You can ask the teacher about your child’s behavior in class as well as at lunch and recess.  If you have been looking at graded assignments all quarter, you may have some questions about expectations.  You can also address the volume and type of homework, the teacher’s recommended way to study for tests, and your child’s state of mind concerning school.
·         Share with the teacher any family or social dynamics that may impact your child’s behavior and academic success.  If your child struggles with anxiety, extreme moods, depression, attention issues, or hyperactivity, bring this to the teacher’s attention.  If your child’s school situation causes him anxiety in any way, be sure to share this with the teacher as well.
·         Start positive.  Compliment the teacher on anything positive that your child has shared with you.  This will get your conference off on the right foot.
·         After you have shared information with each other, set up a plan of action.  There may be more you can do at home to improve your child’s success.  There may also be more the teacher can do at school to enhance your child’s performance and overall well being.
·         Ask the teacher if your child is on the right track, needs extra help, or needs enrichment.  Then follow up.
·         Don’t forget to bring written questions with you and take notes for future action.  The time will go quickly, and you need to be as efficient as possible.
·         After the conference, share with your child what you and the teacher discussed. Be sure to start positive.   If appropriate, set up a game plan, based on the conference.  Keep in touch with the teacher on a regular basis. Email or phone calls right after school usually work well.
November is an excellent time to assess your child’s progress and adjustment, and sharing information at a conference can be invaluable.  You and the teacher may learn something surprising and helpful to promote success throughout the school year.

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