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!


  1. Great post! You and I do a lot of things the same nice of you to share your forms! :)

  2. I really like the idea of sending a thank you note to parents who attended a conference for their child. I've never done that. Thank you for the amazing pack of free printables, Mandy!

    1. It wasn't until a few years ago that I started sending thank you notes. It's something I now do every time. Happy you found something useful!

  3. I like the idea of sending thank you notes, as well. Wonderful post, Mandy!

  4. Very practical advice. Thanks for the free forms!

  5. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Some great tips here! A lot of our district's parent conferences are pretty much filled with required stuff that makes it hard to squeeze in real conversation. (stuff like sharing this and that test score) We also have mandated forms sent out on such and such day to notify them ahead of time of the day and time, etc... I love the form to send home ahead of time so you know what they want to discuss. That might make it easier to fit in actually addressing their concerns (shocker!).

  7. Great post Mandy! I love to include student reflections. I never thought to send a thank you!
    Get teaching ideas on my blog! Rockin Resources Blog

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  9. you have a typo on your survey in the second box, it should be "I have seen" instead of "I seen". This would be a great thing to use if the typo wasn't there! :)


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