It’s parent-teacher conference time again, and here are 6 tips to get the most out of your individual time with your child’s teacher:
1. Schedule early – If you have a choice of when to schedule your child’s conference, ask for a time early in the day. This is the time teachers are at their best. With 25 – 30 individual conferences (or more), a teacher can be worn out mentally toward the end of the day.
2. This is your time to address concerns – Determine in advance if there are concerns that you would like to address with your child’s teacher. These concerns can be anything from friends, to homework, to academics. This moment is set aside for you to have individual time with your child’s teacher to talk about your concerns. If you believe your child may have a learning disability and would like to speed up the testing process, check out my post How To Request A Learning Disability Test For Your Child.
3. Determine if you will need longer than the allotted conference time – If you have some concerns that you would like to address with your child’s teacher that may take the bulk of the conference time, ask if you can schedule a longer conference time. You can also ask to schedule a longer time on a different day. This will help to insure that your concerns receive the attention and time that they need.
4. Ask if children can attend conferences – If you will need (or want) to bring your children (or siblings) to the conference, ask in advance what the policy is for this. Usually you will find that your children (and siblings) are welcome. Often, teachers will set up an area in their classrooms or the hallway with crayons, paper, and books to entertain the children while you meet. Some teachers will even invite your children to be involved in the conference if what is being discussed isn’t sensitive in nature.
5. Conferences are also a time to meet with your child’s specialists – If your child’s school has specialist teachers such as music, physical education, technology, and art, you can meet with them during this time as well. Often, these conferences are just “pop in” conferences. Usually, you can just stop by their classrooms for a few minutes to say “hi” and receive a little feedback on how your child is performing. Other specialists such as speech, special education, Title 1, and advanced learning are usually present at your child’s conference with the teacher.
6. The biggest tip (and secret) of all is teachers are just as nervous as the parents – While I’m sure there are exceptions to this secret, the fact is, most teachers are anxious during conference time. Teachers care so much about your children and are hoping that the conferences are a success.
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