Almost every school holds parent-teacher conferences. These aren't really conferences so much as they are conversations you have with a teacher about your child's schoolwork. Parent-teacher conferences give you an opportunity to connect with teachers face-to-face, and to let them know that you want to work with them to help your child succeed at school. They also give you a way to find out more about how your child is doing than you can learn from reading a report card. 

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your parent-teacher conference: 

  • Try to attend every conference. If you can't make it to a conference, let the teacher know ahead of time and ask if it would be possible to reschedule or talk on the phone. If your child is to attend the conference with you, be sure to make any arrangements for childcare for siblings if required: You want to be able to focus during the meeting. If you work a shift that would make it hard or impossible for you to attend conferences, tell the teacher at the beginning of the school year so you can arrange to meet at a different time or participate in the meeting via phone.
  • Ask questions. Ask the teacher about what's planned for the coming months, what your child is good at, what she needs to work on, and how much time she should spend on homework. Ask what you can do to help your child improve his skills.
  • Look at the conference as a chance for you to share ideas and information with someone who wants to help you and your child. Try not to see the conference as a power-struggle or to feel intimidated.
  • Expect the teacher to ask questions, too. Teachers may ask about things that don't seem related to school, such as your child's favourite foods or television programs. The teacher may suggest some changes at home, like cutting back on TV, that can help your child succeed at school.
  • Be prepared for the conference. Review some of your child's work. Write down any questions or concerns you might have. Ask your child if there's anything he'd like you to bring up.
  • Share some of what you learned at the conference with your child. She will probably be curious about what happened and what was said. Tell your child some of the good things the teacher said. Also mention things that could be improved and how you and your child can work on them.

Don't forget to thank the teacher for taking the time to talk with you.

 

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