During parent-teacher conferences, teachers set aside time from their classes to meet with parents about their children’s progress in school. From school to school, conferences vary. Schoolwide conferences are generally available at the beginning of the school year. But parents don’t need to wait for the scheduled parent-teacher conference dates to meet with their child’s teacher if they have concerns. Parents can request a conference when needed and set up a convenient time and place to meet. Below are a few suggestions for parents to consider so they can make the most of the time they have with teachers.
Before the conference:
Talk with your child about school. Ask:
What do you like best about school?
Who do you like to play and work with at school?
What have you been learning at school?
Are you having a hard time with anything you’re learning at school?
Do a little homework:
If your work hours or child-care arrangement don’t allow you to attend a conference during the scheduled time, let the teacher know and arrange for a different day, time or place.
Review any of the materials your child’s teacher sent home about the curriculum he or she is teaching.
Think about your child’s homework. Has your child had homework? How much? How difficult has it been for her to complete the homework?
Look at the Ohio Department of Education’s “Standards Guide for Families” and ask your child about the grade level indicators he or she has been learning at school.
What to bring to the conference:
Samples of your child’s homework that you have questions about;
Any information you have about the curriculum in your child’s classroom;
The “Standards Guide for Families” for your child’s grade;
Paper and pen;
An open mind and a smile;
Your child. It’s up to you to decide if it’s best for your child to attend the conference. You may also ask your child’s teacher for any preferences about children attending conferences.
At the conference:
Keep your child as your focus. Tell the teacher about your child’s interests, strengths, learning style and/or goals.
Tell the teacher about your hopes and dreams for your child.
Listen to the teacher’s ideas about how your child is doing in school.
Ask the teacher about the strengths of your child and if he or she has any concerns for your child.
Tell the teacher how you support your child’s learning.
Discuss any concerns you have about your child’s learning.
Ask how your child is doing in mastering the grade-level indicators for his or her grade.
Ask how you can best help your child at home with his or her unique learning needs, especially with reading and math.
Ask what the class will be learning in the next grading period.
Ask about the different groups your child is in for reading, math and other subjects.
Ask how the teacher determined where to place your child.
Ask if your child has friends and gets along with classmates.
Ask how your child is doing on the tests the teacher has given. Does your child have any problems taking tests?
Ask if your child has any absences or tardies other than those you reported.
Clarify the best way to contact the teacher.
Make sure the teacher knows the best way to contact you.
Source: Ohio Department of Education, www.ode.state.oh.us