Improving My Educational Opportunities

Four Tips To Help Parents Get The Most Out Of Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-teacher conferences provide a great opportunity for educators and parents to help students succeed. Optimizing the way you schedule these meetings can make the process easier for you and present parents with a way to prepare for the meeting. Here are a few tips you can use when scheduling parent-teacher conferences

Send Home A Questionnaire

In some cases, parents may simply not know where to begin with addressing the strengths and weaknesses of their children. Sending home a questionnaire in the weeks before the conference can provide them with a chance to address concerns and come up with meaningful answers that you can discuss in the meeting. Some questions might include:

  • What does your child excel in?
  • Does your child express frustration about school?
  • How do you approach homework with your child?
  • Do you have any concerns you would like to discuss?

Have the parents return the questionnaires to the school a few days before the conferences are scheduled so you can review each one. Bring the papers to each child's conference so you can address each question as a team.

Schedule Extra Time Between Conferences

Parent-teacher conferences often run on tight schedules because there are so many parents to see. However, allowing even an extra 5 minutes between meetings can provide that bit of extra time some parents need to address concerns. This also makes room in the schedule for working parents who might arrive a few minutes late. Remember that some conferences may end early because not all parents will have a list of concerns. If one conference ends early and the next group of parents is ready, go ahead and meet with them right away. This can help prevent backups in the meeting schedule.

Have Samples Of Excellent Work Available

As you schedule meetings with parents, look back on the work your students have done. Choose work that stands out and bring it with to each conference. This allows you to start each meeting on a positive note, even if a child has a lot of educational or behavioral challenges. You can also keep a journal of student's progress, noting days when a student did a great job participating or listening in class. Share those entries with parents, and consider providing them with a copy of each journal entry.

Use An Online Signup Sheet

One easy way to make sure that everyone has a chance to schedule a conference that's convenient for them is to use an online scheduling page. Some schools provide access to this type of program for free, though you can also register with an online company that specializes in sign-up sheets for conferences. Be sure to send the link for the signup page to all the parents, and provide a range of morning, afternoon, and evening options to meet everyone's scheduling needs.