Hey teachers! The time is upon us, parent teacher conference season. Sure, this can be a daunting experience for both new and experienced teachers alike. I know for me I always get nervous. Am I going to say something that the parents don’t like? What if they don’t understand? Are they even going to show up for their conference? I want to talk about all of this and how to have a smooth conference season! Let’s dive in.
Parent Teacher Conference Tip #1: Get Parents Ready
We as teachers are usually trying to prepare ourselves for the conference and forget that the parents should also prepare. When parents have time to think about the conference ahead of time, chances are the conference is going to be a lot more in depth. One item that I am using this year for my parents is a pre-conference survey. I send it home with 4 questions so that the parents can write down their thoughts. This will help me ensure that nothing is missed and the parents leave feeling heard.
Parent Teacher Conference Tip #2: Get Students Ready
Student Led conferences have really taken off as a new way of conferencing. I know that the upper grades at my school have the students lead. The younger grades encourage the child to be at the conference so they too can hear about their progress. For the older students there is a student self reflection form. It gives students the opportunity to reflect on how they have been doing. It also gives the students the opportunity to share with their parents how they feel things are going. This is a great tool so that teachers can also see the students responses.
Parent Teacher Conference Tip #3: Address the Positive in the child
We as educators are great at including both ways to grow and ways we are excelling when it comes to talking to parents. I like to send parents home with something that they can reflect on after they leave the conference. This is where the glow and grow sheets comes into play. This sheet is a simple form for teachers to fill out before the conference so they can share areas the student GLOWS in and areas that they need to GROW in.
Parent Teacher Conference Tip #4: Respect everyone and their time
You know what it’s like. You show up to the doctor 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment and you wait…and you wait some more…and then 45 minutes after your scheduled time you are being seen. You are irritated, feel disrespected and just want to get out as fast as you can. Do not make this mistake when it comes to conferences. I know that it can be hard to stay on track with time but this is a must. I like to use the conference sign up form. I put one on the door and one next to me. This way I can keep track of the schedule. With these forms I also like to ass a conference session poster on the door. This lets parents know to knock when they have arrived so that we also stay on time. Please note that for me personally when a parent is late, that time is docked off their conference. Time is so tight that I am not able to add on to the end of the conference.
In order to ensure that everyone knows what time they are supposed to arrive at the conference I send home a reminder form as well. I like to send this home the week of the conference so that the parent is aware of the time and day of the week. This also gives them time to contact me and make any changes that they may need.
Parent Teacher Conference Tip #5: Ensure everyone leaves happy and understood
It is so important that your parents leave feeling good about the conference. It can be tough to talk to parents about their children, especially if there are some complications that need to be discussed. That is why I create this parent post conference survey. This survey will help you understand the parent and what they got out of the conference. There are 5 questions for the parent to answer along with a section for them to write anything that they may need more clarification on. This is especially helpful for us teachers if months down the road a parent has a question about something that was said at a conference (it happens!) This survey gives us as teachers something to reflect on.
Parent Teacher Conference Tips: Be Yourself!
Do not forget to be the awesome, charming and amazing teacher that you are when you see parents. You are with their child sometimes more waking hours than they are so they trust that you have their child’s best interest at heart. If you want to grab these forms head over to my TPT shop where you can pick them up!
When are your conferences? I would love to know what you to do prepare! Send me an email at Erin.firstname.lastname@example.org and share with me!