Parent-teacher conferences offer valuable insights into your child's academic progress and provide an excellent opportunity to foster a strong parent-teacher/advisor relationship. To maximize the benefits of these brief meetings, consider these three essential points:
1. Pre-conference Preparation:
Before attending the conference, it's crucial for parents to come prepared. While teachers/advisors are the central focus during these meetings, your role as a parent is equally significant. To make the most of this interaction, take the time to review your child's most recent progress report or report card. This will help you understand your child's past performance and recognize areas of growth and persistent challenges. Consider asking the following questions:
- How can I best support my child's learning?
- What are my child's strengths and weaknesses?
- Are my child's challenges/weaknesses age-appropriate, or should I be concerned?
- What course options are available for my child in the coming year (for older students)?
- When can I expect the next update on my child's progress?
2. Punctuality Matters:
Being present and on time for the conference is vital. Attending the conference not only aids in building a strong rapport with your child's teacher/advisor but also ensures open lines of communication. By arriving on time, you communicate to teachers that you respect and appreciate their time. Keep in mind you are not the only parent with whom the teacher is meeting—try to stay within your allotted conference time. You can always schedule a follow-up phone call or check in if needed.
3. Maintain Ongoing Communication:
To facilitate ongoing communication, plan for the future. Discuss with the teacher or advisor their preferred method of communication, whether it's via phone calls, e-mails, or in-person meetings. If you wish to monitor specific behaviors or track your child's skill development, establish future checkpoints. For instance, you might say, "Let's encourage Johnny to reach out to his math teacher via email if he struggles with an assignment this week. How about we check in again on Monday for an update?" This proactive approach ensures that you maintain a strong connection with your child's educational support system.