Make Parent Teacher Conferences Work for You and Your Child
According to the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), only one in four parents are actively involved in their children’s school. It may seem like an impossible task to fit one more thing into your already overscheduled day; however, studies show that when parents are involved in their children’s education, their children will generally have higher grades and test scores, better attendance and self-esteem, higher graduation rates, and be more likely to go to college. One way to be involved in your child’s education is to attend parent–teacher conferences. It is a time for you and the teacher(s) to work together as a team to discuss ways you both can help your child.
Before the conference
- Schedule an appointment. Many schools schedule parent-teacher conferences a few times during the year; however, you can set up an additional meeting with your child’s teacher for whatever reason. If you need to set up an appointment with the teacher, make a phone call or write a quick note to him, and let him know if you have particular issues you would like to discuss. If your work schedule does not allow you to meet with the teacher at regularly scheduled conference times, speak with him about scheduling a time that will work for both of you.
- Talk to your child. Find out which subjects she likes the best and the least. Ask why. Also, ask if there is anything she would like you to talk about with her teacher. Help her understand that you and her teacher are meeting to help her. If your child is in middle or high school, you may want to include her in the conference.
- Gather input from others. If your spouse, another care-giving adult, or someone with pertinent information or insight (doctor, counselor, other guardian) can't attend the conference, ask for that person's concerns and questions before the conference.
- Make a list. Before you go to the meeting, make a list of topics to discuss with the teacher. Along with questions about academics and behavior, you may want to talk to him about your child's home life, personality, concerns, habits and hobbies, and other topics that may help the teacher in working with your child (e.g., religious holidays, music lessons, part-time jobs, a sick relative).
Reprinted with the permission of the One Tough Job campaign. © Children's Trust Fund of Massachusetts 2007. All rights reserved.
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