Parent - Teacher Conferences

Parent - Teacher Conferences

Before The Parent - Teacher Conference

Document the Difficulties.
Keep a log of the child's unusual or disruptive behavior.
Keep track of the child's grades and missing assignments.
Keep a record of all communications with parents.
Keep notes and records concerning the child's behavior in other classrooms.

Communicate your concerns early.
Let parents know of potential concerns as they arise. Balance this with the positive attributes you are observing.

Solicit other's support.
For the most difficult circumstances, get the help of school counselors, principals, and other professionals who are available to consult with you. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but an indication of your professionalism.

Try Various Interventions
Try out possible solutions in class and investigate other possible interventions before the conference. Document your efforts and inform the parents.

At The Parent - Teacher Conference

Welcome with warmth.
The parents, or the child's previous teacher can let you know if anyone needs special accommodations for the conference such as an interpreter for the deaf or a translator. In the primary grades, be sure to provide adult-sized chairs for your guests. Greet the parents with a smile and a handshake. Engage in brief small talk to make them feel at ease. Begin and end the conference by sharing something positive about the child.

Put it in writing.
Take notes on key points made by all parties. State the problem and possible solutions in writing, then record exactly what each person commits to do next. This will help eliminate the "I think he said ..." confusion after the conference. Give everyone involved a copy of the conference record.

Weigh your words.
Keep in mind your remarks can easily be interpreted as a criticism of parenting skills or cultural practices. Give each parent the kindness, respect, and consideration you would expect from your own child's teacher.

Allow for anger.
This can be one of the most difficult parts of the conference. Remember that these parents have lived with the child you are discussing since birth, and you are probably not the first teacher to bring up difficult issues. Allow them to vent their anger and frustrations. If the parents requested the conference, they may have a lot of pent-up emotion they have been waiting to express.

Seek parent's suggestions.
If parents are particularly upset, ask them how they feel the situation would best be resolved. Ask what has worked in the past and what they would be most comfortable trying now.

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