Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parent-teacher conferences were always so stressful for me. I was always so nervous about the parents and if they were happy with me as their child's teacher. It also was just a lot of work getting everything ready for conferences. There are a few things I learned that helped me to have successful conferences, and I would like to share these tips with you.
-DON'T SURPRISE THE PARENTS.
You should be in contact with your students' parents enough that if there is a problem, they are aware of it.
When I did conferences, I made a folder for each student in the class. Each folder had a checklist to go over each item that would be on the report card and how they were doing so far. I also included samples of students' work for the parents to look at.
About a week before conferences, I would send home a survey for the parents to fill out with questions about how they were feeling about different aspects of their child's education, and if there were any concerns they wanted to discuss. This was so helpful, because then I knew how to best prepare for each conference. Of course, not all parents would turn them in, and sometimes they didn't write everything down, but in general it really helped me to be better prepared. You can get a copy of the form here.
It is also a good idea to have handouts on different subjects that could be helpful. Some ideas for handouts I have done in the past are:
Strategies parents can use when they read with their child at home
Book lists for different reading levels
Ideas for practicing spelling words
Think about your students and what types of things might be helpful for their parents.
-HAVE A COMFORTABLE PLACE TO MEET.
This is good not only for the parents, but for you as well. Taking some time to straighten up your classroom will help parents feel welcomed and get the conference off to a good start. I love using lamps instead of the harsh fluorescent lights. It makes it a lot more cozy. I also make sure to have enough space for the parents to look at their child's work, and set up two chairs in case both parents show up. I also like to provide something for them to write with in case they want to make notes.
Be sure to keep breath mints and a water bottle handy. You will be doing a lot of talking, and you will be glad you have them.
-BE POSITIVE ABOUT YOUR STUDENTS.
Always start and end the conference with something positive about the student. It shows the parents that even if their child is having a hard time in school, you recognize their positive attributes and care about their child.
Hopefully conferences will go well for you! Click here to see another article with some great advice for parent teacher conferences.
Do you have any other good tips for conferences? Leave a comment below!!!