Preparing for Parent Teacher Conferences

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…or maybe not for some of us.  Parent Teacher conferences are looming, and some of you are pulling your hair out.  Most schools don’t set aside enough time for each family to meet with a teacher, so the whole thing is rushed. And then, there are those “tricky” conferences.  Maybe so-and-so hasn’t been doing very well, or there are behavior issues to talk about.  Some of us feel pressured by high needs parents.  Or maybe the thought of being on the spot for several hours is just plain uncomfortable. If you’re new at this, you might not know what to say or how to say it.

Here’s an idea from Angela Cerchio, my son’s first grade teacher.  She sent home a pre-conference form that focused on concerns we may be having.  Here are the questions she asks:

  • What is your child’s general feeling about first grade?
  • Has your child expressed any concerns about school–academic or social?
  • What does your child like best at school?
  • What do you feel are your child’s strengths and/or weaknesses?
  • Do you have any academic or social concerns about your child?  In what ways can we better help your child and you?
What I love about this form is that I feel like my son’s teacher has gone out of her way to make sure she addresses OUR concerns.  It’s not all HER agenda.  She gets the scoop in advance about what we’re thinking, so that she can plug right in.  What a great way to help parents feel that their issues are most important and will not be left till the last minute of the conference.

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