On Thursday, October 24th, teachers will meet with parents to discuss the progress of the children. Though parents are welcome to meet with their child’s teacher at any point throughout the year, this six week check-in is an effective way to see how a child is doing in school. The focus of these conferences are not only academic, they are also opportunities for parents to learn how their child is developing socially and emotionally. However, a component of each conference should also include the teacher hearing from the parent. Information from the home is important because there are layers of a child’s self that the parents see and understand that are different than what the teachers will see in the classroom.
In preparing for the Parent & Teacher Conference, there are several key items to keep in mind:
Be open to the teacher’s observations and feedback, even if what she shares seems surprising. Remember that your child will most likely behave differently at school where he or she has to interact with a group of their peers for a large part of the day.
Understand what your child is ready for developmentally. For example, some parents become frustrated their child isn’t reading by a certain age but don’t realize that before 2nd grade, some children are not developmentally ready to read. The book Yardsticks by Chip Wood is an excellent resource for parents who want to learn the developmental milestones of children. Click here to order the book online.
Come prepared with a few specific questions. If possible, email the questions ahead of time to the teacher so your child’s teacher is prepared with an answer.
Share feedback. If all is going well, let the teacher know what is working. If there have been some bumps or if there is something not going well, share details about what you have noticed.
If there is something unclear, ask for clarification. Teachers seek to be clear in the information they deliver to parents. Asking clarifying questions benefits you and the teacher whose goal is to present a clear portrait of your child’s growth and development.
In the end, Parent & Teacher Conferences are ways teachers can strengthen the partnership between the school and home by providing important feedback on the progress of students. By being open to that information, parents can gain a deeper and broader understanding of how their child learns as well as how he or she is developing as a person and thinker.