Parent-teacher conferences are one of the many steps taken to help build a student's educational program. They are an opportunity for a parent to discuss a student's progress in school with his or her teacher and to learn more about the youngster. Report cards, notes, etc., have their advantages, but the parent-teacher conference has one thing more – it's a chance to get together in person and seek ways to work together to help your youngster.

As a parent, this conference provides you with a chance to:

  • get to know your student's teacher or teachers,

  • learn about the school and curriculum, and

  • discuss your youngster's strengths and weaknesses in various areas.

It's a chance for you to:

  • ask questions,

  • give teachers information that will help them understand your student's needs, and

  • work together with the teacher to plan your student's school year.

Here's what you can do to get ready for the conference:

  • List the things that will help the teacher understand your youngster better. For example, any special health needs or problems, outside interests and hobbies, feelings about school, and relationship with brothers and sisters.

  • List the things that you want to find out from the teacher. For example, you may want to know about:

    • services and programs the school offers

    • discipline policies,

    • grading policy,

    • co-curricular activities,

    • homework policy,

    • health and safety programs.

You can help by giving the teacher all information that would help him or her to understand your youngsters better. For example:

  • important experiences that may be affecting your student (death in family, a best friend moving away, divorce of parents, etc.),

  • special medical needs,

  • study habits at home,

  • TV habits,

  • after-school activities and special interests, and

  • conflict among family members. It is not necessary to reveal personal information. However, anything you do say will be kept in strict confidence.

Your youngster will undoubtedly be curious about the conference – and has a right to be.

  • Talk it over before the conference to get ideas about what should be covered and to help relieve anxiety about the conference.

  • Tell the student what was discussed after the conference and be sure to talk about any changes or new plans.

Be positive! The better your student feels about him or herself, the better he or she will do in school.

Source: A Parent Guide – Parent-Teacher Conference, National School Public Relationships Association