As a child those three words instilled fear. My parents are going to talk to my teacher, about me, and my schoolwork? I remember thinking how nice it would be on the other end-to be the parent-until now. October rolls around, the end of the first quarter is here and its conference time. I break out in a sweat just like I did as a kid, hoping my teacher was saying amazing things about me to my parents, only now I hope the teachers will have amazing things to say about my kids. My oldest is in 4th grade now so we’ve weathered the good and the bad of conference time, I’d like to share a few tips I’ve learned over the years.
One of the most important factors happens before conferences are even on the horizon. Once school has started and you’ve met your child’s teacher, don’t let that be the last time you see or have any communication. Dropping in before or after school, an email, phone call or even a note in their planner is a great way to develop an open relationship so that should there be any concerns, you’ll know about them before conferences and not have to deal with any surprises at that meeting.
Remember what the purpose of the conference is for, go into the meeting open to hearing everything the teacher has to share about your child. We all want to hear that our child is doing his/her best in school. Passing tests, benchmarks and behaving, but occasionally that isn’t the case and teachers do an amazing job of preparing a plan in going forward. Even though we may not want to hear anything negative about our child, realize its in their best interest to create a learning conducive environment fit for his/her needs.
Whether your child is doing amazing or struggling with school, take any extra help that is offered. Ask if tutoring is available at the school, extra homework to be sent home or even websites your child can log in and use at home.
This is a fantastic website that allows you to pick the grade level, subject, so you can pick what specifically you would like your child to work on.
As I walked out of the school after attending three conferences recalling bits and pieces from each one, I have to give major props to each of their teachers. I can’t imagine its easy on their end to give an overview of each child in their classroom to parents that walk through their door. As a parent we need to remember that we were our child’s first educator-but even though we decided to send them to school-doesn’t mean we are no longer their educator. As parents we play a vital role in our child’s education, and its imperative we walk that role hand in hand with their teacher.
What are some of the ways you survive conference time?