Tips for making the most of a parent and teacher conference

Parents send their children to school hoping that they will behave well and get a good education. Teachers want the same things from their students. But when either of those things isn’t happening teachers and parents have to come together to get things on the right track. For those parents that feel that they need to meet with their child’s teacher (or teachers) face to face, here are a few suggestions that can ensure a positive outcome.

  • Request and schedule conferences in advance, never show up unannounced.
  • Be on time for the conference, especially if the conference is scheduled during school hours.
  • Be prepared to advise your child’s teacher (or teachers) of any previously undisclosed learning issues that your child might have.
  • Find out how discipline is handled in each classroom. ┬áConfirm that your child is behaving in every class.
  • Confirm that your child is arriving on time for class (or classes).
  • Confirm that your child is coming to class prepared.
  • Ask teachers how grades are calculated for their particular class (what percentage of grades comes from homework, tests/quizzes, etc.).
  • Find out each teacher’s policy for make-up work after an absence.
  • Find out each teacher’s policy for missed assignments.
  • Find out if students are allowed to re-take failed tests.
  • Ask for recommendations for getting extra help if your child is struggling with a particular subject.
  • Ask each teacher how they prefer being contacted with questions and concerns.
  • Provide all teachers with the best method and time for contacting you regarding future concerns about your child.

For parents of middle and high school students who have different teachers for each subject area, introduce yourself to all of their teachers, but advise teachers and conference schedulers in advance if you are mostly concerned about a particular subject. Advise your child’s other teachers in advance that you may not necessarily need to meet with them for an extended period of time.

Make sure that your child’s teachers see you as a partner in the effort to educate your child. Let them know that you are relying on them as the “expert” in their subject area. Confirm that you are willing to do your part at home to ensure a successful learning environment for your child at school.

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