Monday, October 14

HOW TO make the most of your parent/teacher conference

Few things make a parent beam with pride more than a glowing review from a teacher. We love to hear that our children are bright, hard-working and responsible, and, chances are, that's just what you'll hear at your upcoming parent/teacher conference. Conference time is also a valuable opportunity to dig a little deeper and find out areas where your child may need support.

In order to make the most of this experience, it helps to do your homework. Think ahead about any concerns you may have and be prepared to share them with your child's teacher in an open and non-threatening way. Share important details about your child that the teacher may not know and that could help maximize your child's success in the classroom. Take advantage of the teacher's unique perspective to get a well-rounded picture of how your child is doing socially and emotionally as well as academically.

Let these tips from Scholastic be your guide and you'll be on your way to a super productive (and painless)  parent/teacher conference.

Before the Teacher Conference 
Start preparing early. Don't wait until the night before to get organized. Create a folder at the beginning of the year in which you store test scores, big homework assignments, and your notes (about things your child has told you or any other topics you want to address).

Talk to your child. Ask how he or she is doing in class, what's going on during lunchtime, recess, and when he or she goes to special classes like music or gym.

During the Teacher Conference
Arrive early. With only a few precious minutes to spend, you don't want to be late. It will shorten your time with your child's teacher and affect her day's entire schedule.

Enter with the right attitude. The goal of both the teacher and the parent should be the success of the student, but sometimes parents have a hard time discussing tough issues. Rather than put the teacher on the defensive, arrive with a compliment to start the conference off on the right foot. ("My son is really enjoying the unit on space" or "We had a great time on the field trip.") Then address any concerns in a respectful way.

Find out the communication protocol. Don't let this be the only time you talk to your child's teacher. Ask how he or she likes to communicate, whether it's by e-mail, notes passed through a folder, or phone calls.

After the Teacher Conference
Follow up. If the teacher brings something to your attention that needs to be addressed with your child, take steps to put the plan in motion, whether it's helping with organizational skills, getting extra help, or addressing a social issue.

Update your child. Start with the positive things his or her teacher had to say, then fill him or her in on any concerns you and the teacher discussed. Explain how you can all work together to ensure your child has a successful year.

Image credit: schoolimprovement.com
Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools

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