Sunday, October 12, 2014

Successful Parent Teacher Conferences

Participating in Parent Teacher Conferences can be a stressful part of being a teacher.  You want what is best for your students.  Sharing areas of strength and other positives is the easy part.  Presenting concerns can be uncomfortable for both you and parents.  I am approaching my twelfth year of parent teacher conferences.  There are times that I am nervous, but by now I have a routine and things that I do to every year that help to make them successful.

Prior to Conferences

  • Send out your sign-up sheet a few weeks ahead of time.  Have parents mark their 3 most preferable times, ordering them from 1 to 3.
  • For those that you know or suspect will need extra, leave the time slot immediately after theirs free.
  • If you don’t get a conference slip back from a student’s parents, make a phone call or send an email to try to set one up.
  • Send home a survey for parents to fill out.  Questions they may have for you and/or concerns about their child.  Have them return it to you prior to the conference so that you are prepared.

  • Send home a conference reminder – listing the time and day for their scheduled conference.  Copy on colored paper to have it stand out

  • Have students complete a self-evaluation to rate their own learning, behavior, etc. 

  • Prior to the conference, fill out the conference notes.  This will help with maintaing a focus and purpose.  

Setting the Stage

  • Make sure your room is tidy.
  • Have students clean out their desks
  • Outside the classroom, have a table decorated for the appropriate season. 
  • Consider having a basket with candy for waiting parents
  • Include a sign-in sheet.
  • Have chairs sitting outside the room
  • Display student work in the hallway for them to look at while waiting.
  • Need supplies?  Have a wish list for parents to choose something to donate.

During Conferences

  • Close the door for privacy
  • Don't sit behind a desk.  Sitting side by side is ideal.  This helps parents feel less intimidated.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Begin the conference with saying something positive about their child.
  • While conferencing, always remember that their child is their world and that you all ultimately want what is best for their child.  Within reason, the parent is always right. 
  • Take notes.  This will serve as a reminder for you.  You see many parents during conference time, and it's hard to remember everything you talked about with all parents.
  • Make it a priority to stick to the allotted time.  You don’t want angry parents before they come to the conference.
  • Thank them for coming and let them know you are looking forward to the rest of the year.

Conference Follow-Up

  • Send home a thank-you note to parents that came.
  • Continue a channel of communication between home and school.   

You can download the free forms that you see within this post HERE.  

Wishing you successful parent teacher conferences!