Parent teacher conferences are coming soon and I wanted to share some tips I picked up along the years. I could write a book about parent conferences but here are 5 tips that I think could be helpful for all teachers:
- Flexibility- Find out if you can offer some flexibility in your schedule. My school allowed us to schedule conferences any day and time within a two week period. I then selected times that would be convenient for me and offered them to parents. We want to be available for families but don’t forget that your life is important too! The schedule should also fit around your plans because your life should also be a priority.
- Reminders- I’m a super forgetful person so I know the value of getting reminders. Every conference season I’d send out a confirmation/reminder note the day I scheduled the conference and then a reminder sticker on the day of our meeting. So many parents have commented to me over the years that the reminder note/sticker helped them make it on time.
- The positive sandwich- My first principal was so good about reminding us about this. Cushion areas of improvement with positive observations. The very first thing parents need to hear from you is a positive comment about their child. Negative comments will make families defensive and that will work against you. If you cushion those areas of need with positive feedback, parents will be much more receptive to hear your recommendations.
- Admin- Do you already know there are some serious concerns with a child/family prior to meeting? Is Kelly so behind grade level that you feel there might be a need to retain? Get admin involved. Is David having a hard time getting along with classmates? Get admin involved. Send your principal or VP an email and let them know your concerns and ask if they can be present. Every one of my principals appreciated being involved.
- Treat yo’ self! No matter how long you have been doing this, parent teacher conference time is stressful. Even my best conferences were exhausting. I treated myself with some coffee, a message, facial, etc. You work so hard, so treat yo’ self!
I hope you found these tips helpful. Want some pre-made materials to use during parent teacher conferences? I put these resources together over several years and they made my life so much easier!