Parent teacher conferences can be very stressful, but they are a very important way to communicate with parents about their child’s needs. If you have a particularly difficult student or parent, conferences can feel incredibly daunting. Take some stress off of your shoulders and do some prep work before conferences. Being prepared for parent teacher conferences will help you feel more confident and in control. Here are 8 tips to prepare for your parent teacher conferences!
1. Review Student Work
This may seem unnecessary because you see their work all the time, but make sure you review work for each student. Make mental notes of your observations to share with parents. If you want to show parents work samples, put those in a separate folder so they don’t get lost!
2. Jot Down Observations
After reviewing student work, it may be helpful to you to write your observations on a page that parents can take home with them after the parent teacher conference. There is almost always something that I forget to say during the conference and this helps me make sure that I communicate all of my concerns or praises to parents.
3. Look for the Positive
I always try to think of a few positive things to share about each student. Whether it’s progress they’ve made, small wins I’ve witnessed, or positive personality traits, you should find something that the student does well. Parent teacher conferences can make parents feel nervous too! Hearing something positive about their child reminds them that you care.
4. Prepare to Discuss Issues
If there are issues that you need to discuss during the parent teacher conference, be sure you have specific examples to share. If a child is not submitting quality work, show a work sample of their lack of effort. If a child has an academic concern, bring samples or data to prove this to parents. Having concrete evidence will help parents accept the information they receive, even if it’s not positive.
5. Get Ready for Questions
Whether you have concerns about the student or not, parents will likely have questions of their own. Be prepared to answer questions about their child. It may be helpful to ask parents to complete a pre-conference survey. This will not only make parents feel that they will be heard, but it will also ensure that you can make the most of your time together!
6. Be Aware of Cultural Differences
Keep in mind that parents may have different cultural backgrounds than you or the majority of other families at your school. Be sensitive to any cultural differences that may arise when talking during the parent teacher conference. You can prepare for this at the ahead of time by sending home a parent survey at the beginning of the year!
7. Come up with a Game Plan
If you have concerns about a student, be prepared with a plan of action. Parents don’t want to be presented with an issue and no solution. Think about ways you and the parent(s) can work together to help their child succeed. If you are going to address issues at the parent teacher conference, parents will feel more confident in your abilities if you have a plan of action.
One possible solution is to create student goals before the parent teacher conference. Discuss with students ways that they can achieve this goal and create a plan of action together!
8. Keep it Positive
Start off the parent teacher conference on a happy note and let the parents know how much you appreciate the opportunity to talk with them about their child. This can help to create a friendly and collaborative atmosphere.
During parent teacher conferences it’s important to be prepared, positive, and open-minded. I hope these tips help you feel more confident! Good luck!
You can also check out this blog post to see how I use these forms in my classroom!
Hi, I’m Libby!
I’m so happy you’re here! I love all things first grade – the curriculum, the content, and the sweet kiddos. I’m passionate about helping K-2 teachers save time in the classroom with fresh ideas and fun, engaging resources.