Parent-teacher conferences are important for so many reasons. They are an arranged meeting with each students’ parents that give you an opportunity to communicate with parents, discuss what you’re working on in the classroom, speak with parents about how students are doing, what they can work on, and set educational goals for the future.
They can be nerve-wracking if you are a new teacher though. I get it! How do you have an effective parent-teacher conference? What do you say at a parent-teacher conference?
Here are my favorite tips and tricks for parent-teacher conferences
Before the conference, send out forms and request preferred times for parents. Set a schedule for each conference and allow a little time in between to give a cushion for any conferences that might run a little longer. Organize any reports or papers you need for each conference in the order that you’ll be speaking to parents so you aren’t left shuffling for papers when you are with parents. Students can also help led their conferences. When students are sharing their progress they become more invested in their learning. My students use a Student-Led Conference format to share their data and work with their parents.
Share how the students are doing
This part is more obvious, but remember to include examples of their work. You can include examples of what they are doing well, what they are working on, and what you hope to see them improve on.
Discuss how parents can help
Have a plan for parents. What can they do at home to support their students? Studies show that the more parents and families are involved in student learning, the better their educational outcomes. Don’t be afraid to ask for parents’ involvement!
Address parent’s concerns or questions
While it is important to cover all of your topics, you also want to address anything the parents want to cover. There may be things parents notice or that students tell them about struggles that you don’t know about in the classroom. This is the perfect time to bring it up. Listening carefully to them is a great way to show that you care.
Share how students are doing socially and emotionally
Students’ education is important, of course. But parents also want to hear how students are doing socially and emotionally. Share some fun stories about their child. Do they easily get along with their peers? What about their personality do you love? Parents love talking about their children this way and it shows that you care about the whole child, not just the school work.
Set goals together
Based on the information discussed in the conference, create goals and a plan of action for the rest of the school year together. Parents will appreciate that you listened to their concerns and are creating a plan moving forward.
After the conference, make sure parents are aware of how to reach you if they think of any questions later. Then, jot down any notes or observations you made during the conference. This will be a great reference later on about everything discussed so you can remember what to work on.
It’s totally understandable that you may be nervous about parent-teacher conferences. But if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be flying through them with ease and confidence!