Conferences are coming…
And they are coming very quickly. Parent-teacher conferences are one of the best ways to keep your finger on the pulse of your child’s education.
Unfortunately, they are unbelievably short and jam-packed full. But you can make the most of every minute of your conference with a few pro tips and a little preparation.
Prep now to win parent-teacher conferences later
If you haven’t already checked, now is the time to check your child’s grades for this marking period. Log-on to your school’s online grading system and take a hard look at those grades. If your school doesn’t have an online system, email the teacher to ask for your child’s progress report (assuming you don’t already have it).
Look for anything that sticks out, especially low grades or conduct marks. Anything that is 10-15 points or more than one level lower than “normal” needs a closer look.
Within each subject, look for clusters of grades that are low. This could mean that your child doesn’t quite understand that content yet. Also be on the lookout for major assignments with lower grades. One big test or project that didn’t score well could have pulled down their quarterly grade!
Make a Plan
Would you try to just “wing it” on a cross-country road trip? Of course not! You would have booked some places to stay, used your GPS to help you navigate, and planned a list of landmarks to stop at along the way.
Going into a parent-teacher conference without a plan is just like road tripping sans basic itinerary. Friends always make sure their friends make a conference plan!
If you are pretty confident, just write down a list of your concerns and questions you might have. Bring it with you to your conferences. As you are talking to the teacher, check off each item as you go. This way, you’ll be sure to cover the most important things.
You could also use the checklist I made. This all-in-one will help parents stay on track and feel confident for their meeting.
Remember, you will only have 20-25 minutes max, so make every second count!
Know Exactly What to Say
If you want a little more guidance, a script is the way to go for sure. Talk to the Teacher has scripts for every occasion!
Inside the book, the first scripts are for parent-teacher conferences. You’ll find a script for every kind of meeting, from run of the mill and basic to more tense or emotional. You’ll be able to print out the scripts and bring them with you. Just make sure that you fill-in-the-blanks with your child’s information.
Feeling confident? Script out your meeting on your own. Just imagine what you want to say and how the teacher might respond. Create a conversation! Then bring your script with you to the conference to help stay on track.
Want a little more help? I can help you create a script just for your conference. You’ll be getting the best communication strategies that I’ve practiced for years, all in a personalized meeting plan! Email me today get started!
Practice Makes Perfect
You’ve reviewed your child’s progress, planned out your major concerns and questions, and have a script. Now it’s time to practice.
With your spouse, partner, or another friend/family member, set up a “meeting.” Sit across from each other at your dining room table. Each person should have a copy of your script. You will be playing, well, yourself. Your partner has been cast in the role of “Teacher.” Basically, try to make it as realistic as possible.
Run through the script a few times. As you are reading your questions or explaining your concerns, make notes on your script. It’s important to feel comfortable and confident during your meeting. If something doesn’t feel or sound right, don’t be afraid to change it up!
Assemble Your PTC Kit
The night before your parent-teacher conference put everything you’ll need into one spot or bag. This step is super important, especially if you are coming in from work or running around at other conferences.
In your kit, you should have:
- a notebook
- a folder
- a pen or pencil
- a highlighter
- sticky notes
- any work you have questions about
- your script and/or questions and concerns checklist
You could also bring your phone, tablet, or a book. There might be a little bit of a wait for your scheduled conference time. Teachers often run behind on conference days, even though they try very hard to build in buffer time.
Try to be patient. Remember that every parent is here to talk about their own precious child. Everyone deserves to have their questions answers and concerns addressed, just like you.
How do you prepare for your child’s parent-teacher conference? Share your best tips in the comments!