7 Ways to Get the Most out of Parent-Teacher Conferences

  • Even if you listen to the play-by-play coverage during the first half of a football game, the halftime report can put it all in perspective with highlights, stats, and analysis of strengths and weaknesses. Your parent-teacher conference gives you a chance to hit such “educational” high points with your child’s teacher. Here are some ways to make sure you get the most out of your time together…

    1. Talk to your child before the conference.  What are his favorite subjects? Least favorite? Why? Anything he’d like you to know beforehand? Emphasize the positive nature of this meeting.GCPS Conferences: Twice a year, Gwinnett County elementary and middle schools set aside time for parents to meet with their child’s teachers to talk about the student’s academic progress. Generally, elementary school teachers try to meet with every family, while middle school teachers (who have more students) may concentrate on meeting with the parents of struggling students first, and then add other conferences by request. Remember, you can ask for a conference any time during the school year if you have concerns. 
    2. Be prepared.  Write down your questions and information you’d like to share. Any changes at home, such as a new baby or a family member’s illness that might have an impact on your child’s schoolwork? Bring paper and pen so you can take notes.
      3 important questions to ask
      1. What are the academic knowledge and skills my child will master this year?
      2. How will you evaluate my child’s progress?
      3. What can I do at home to support my child’s learning?
    3. Arrive on time and work with the teacher to stay within the set meeting time.  If you have more to discuss, arrange a follow-up visit.
    4. Ask for specifics about your child’s work and progress.  What will she be expected to master? How is she doing? What about behavior and social skills? Talk to the teacher about your child’s study habits and what you’ve observed about work done at home.
    5. Have an open mind.  If your child is having problems—whether academic, behavioral, or social—you and your child’s teacher both want the same, positive outcome. Ask questions, but also listen. The conference is an important time to work together for an honest assessment of your child’s progress.
    6. Determine the best way to stay in touch. Regular notes, e-mails, and calls will help create and maintain the important home-school connection.
    7. Follow through at home.  You and your child’s teacher may come up with some at-home strategies to try. Touch base and let the teacher know how things are going.