Talk With Your Child:
- Ask what he/she would like you to talk about with the teacher.
- Ask what he/she thinks the teacher will say.
- Ask about the things he/she likes and doesn’t like, his/her problems and successes.
- Let him/her know that after the conference you will share and discuss with him/her what the teacher said.
Think About Questions You’d Like to Ask:
- What is being covered in this grade or subject this year?
- What are your expectations for homework? Has my child missed any assignments?
- How are my child’s work habits? Does he/she use time well?
- Does my child read at the level you would expect for this grade?
- Is my child able to do the math you would expect for a student in this grade?
- Is my child in different groups for different subjects? Why?
- Has my child been absent, other than the times when I contacted the school?
- Does my child qualify for any special programs-for example, gifted and talented, English as a second language, or programs for those with learning disabilities?
- Does my child get along well with others?
- Does my child cooperate in class and follow directions?
- What can I do at home to help my child be more successful at school?
What Should the Teacher Know:
- Your child’s favorite subjects
- Outside interests and hobbies.
- Any medical or health needs
- Things happen at home that may affect schoolwork-moving, divorce, the birth of a sibling…
At the Conference:
- Keep an open mind. Remember that both you and the teacher want to help your child succeed. Your goal is to work for cooperation. Even if the teacher says something you disagree with, listen to what she has to say.
- Ask to see your child’s work.
- Ask the teacher to explain terms that are new to you. Every profession has its own jargon which can be hard to understand.
- Sum up what you think has been said. Make sure both you and the teacher agree on any decisions you have made regarding your child. If necessary, ask to meet again.
- Establish the best way to contact each other. Email? Phone? Agenda?
After the Conference:
- Follow up. Stay in touch with the teacher. If you think of a question you didn’t ask, contact the teacher.
- Talk with your child. Stress the positive things the teacher said and talk about suggestions for improvement.
Source: The Parent Institute, www.parent-institute.com