The most important part of the parent-teacher conference is that you attend. If possible, both parents should be there. The more you know about what is going on with your child at school, the more you can be involved and make a difference.
This week just happens to be the end of the first semester at my daughter’s school. At this time, the school sends home report cards to let us know how our kids are doing. We get a snapshot of their academic standings and behavior in school. Unfortunately, a snapshot really isn’t enough to know exactly what’s going on. Usually around the same time report cards come out, you’ll also receive a request for a parent-teacher conference. The parent-teacher conference can provide you with much more information than a piece of paper with a few numbers and letters on it. You need to make the most of the 20 or 30 minutes set aside for you though.
Is It Really Important to Attend the Parent-Teacher Conferences?
If possible, both parents should be there. The more you know about what is going on with your child at school, the more you can be involved and make a difference. Attending also lets your child know you care how they’re doing in school. As a matter of fact, if you are as involved as you should be with your child’s academics, you probably won’t be surprised by any information given to you at the conference. You’ll already know what’s going on at school, and if you’ve been helping with homework and following up with your child, you’ll be better prepared to discuss strategies for improvement. Remember, the teachers are making time for you to talk specifically one-on-one about your child. Please respect this time and use it wisely. Teachers work very hard to do what’s best for your child. If you can’t make your scheduled appointment, be sure to call and reschedule. It is important to be on time and be prepared with any questions you may have.
What Questions Should You Ask at Parent-Teacher Conferences?
When you arrive at the conference, the teacher will have information to give you. Take the time to listen and review the information provided, but make sure that you have a chance to ask all of the questions you want to ask as well. If you are like me, you’ll want to write questions down as you think of them and bring the list with you. Highlight or star the most important items you want covered as you may find that you have a lot more questions than you and your teacher have time to cover. You can always schedule another date to speak further, but make sure you have a chance to discuss the most pressing issues. My daughter’s school actually sends home a list of possible questions to help parents who may be struggling coming up with their own. I love that the school does this and I’d like to share some of my favorite questions they recommend:
How is the class organized?
What is the daily routine?
Has my child shown any special interests or abilities?
Does my child work well on her own, or does she need close supervision?
What do you expect of me as the parent of a child in your class?
How can I help my child learn at home?