Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Prepare for Parent/Teacher Confrences

Fall, Parent/Teacher conferences are approaching. Mine is this coming Monday.  These are important for us parents. They supply us with much needed information on what is going on in the class and more importantly, how our children are doing.  The conferences also give us the opportunity to have some one on one face time with the teacher and hopefully, form a greatly needed rapport with that teacher. Also, we can share what we expect our child to get out of the school year and let the teacher know what we are doing or what we are willing to do to help out.  

First of all, make a list of questions that you have for the teacher.  Making a list will ensure that you don't forget any important questions or information that you have.  A lot of times, these conferences are scheduled to only allow about 15-30 minutes between conferences, and it is easy to feel rushed.  

Make sure that you stick to what is important, your child and what is going on in the classroom.  This is not the time to ask about what time lunch is, and basic school policy questions.  You can talk to the office staff about that at any time.  These types of questions just waste valuable time.

Make sure you listen carefully to what is being said and try not to be defensive.  Believe me, this one is hard.  It is instinctual for us, as parents to want to defend our children, but make sure you keep an open mind.  If there is some kind of problem, the best thing to do is try to figure out a solution together.  This would be in the best benefit for your child.  Working together with the teacher is going to get better results.

Take a pen and paper with you so that you can take notes. This is important so that you don't forget anything when you leave.  Sometimes, these conferences can become overwhelming.  There is so much information given in a short amount of time and you don't want to forget anything that was said.

Go over the conference with your child when you get home.  Make sure that they understand what is going on, as well as what is expected of them from the teacher and yourself.  This makes sure that everyone is on the same page.  

Keep in touch with the teacher.  Keeping in constant contact with the teacher, even if it is a "How are things going?" when you pick up or drop your child off at school gives the teacher an opportunity to let you know if there is something, even something small.  

Most importantly, if you are not getting the help or information that you expect from your child's teacher, make sure you make an appointment with the principal.  I have never had a problem with any of my son's teachers in the past, but as much as the schools want the parents to help out, that is a two way street.  Here in California, a lot of the teachers are overwhelmed, have 30 or more kids in their class and I can see, that it is very easy for them to get frustrated and let things go.  Kids fall through the cracks. I have seen this happen and if you are offering your help and are involved in your child's schooling, and still don't feel that you are getting help from the teacher, make sure you bring this up to the principal.  Remember, this is your child, their education and their future.  You are giving your all, your child should have a teacher that is giving their all.

I hope that these tips help you out with your conferences and until next time my friends.

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