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Parent-Teacher Conferences

It is important to  meet with your child’s teachers to stay abreast of his/her  performance. In middle school conferences with all of the teachers on your child’s team can often be arranged. Call your school’s Guidance Office for information on how to arrange such conferences. Take advantage of back-to-school nights to familiarize your family with classroom expectations, assignments, and rules.

When it’s time to meet with your student’s teacher(s) for a conference, it’s best to take a few moments to prepare.  Here are a few suggestions that will help you make the most of parent-teacher conferences:

Prepare

Begin by talking with your student.  See if there are any topics your student thinks you need to discuss with the teacher.  Then think about your own questions or concerns.  Is there information you want the teacher to know about your student?  Do you have questions about school programs or policies?  It’s a good idea to make a list.  Consider including your child in the meeting.  He/she should be charged with personal responsibility for improvement.

The Conference

Some good questions to ask are:

  • How rigorous is this course compared with other sections of this subject?
  • How well does my student get along with others?
  • What are my student’s strengths and vulnerabilities?
  • Is my student working up to his or her ability?
  • Does my student participate in class discussions and activities?
  • Has my student missed any classes
  • Have you noticed any sudden changes in the way my student acts?  For example, have you noticed any squinting, tiredness or moodiness that might be a sign of physical or other problems
  • What kind of tests are administered?  What do the tests tell you about my student’s progress?  How does my student handle taking tests?

It is a good idea to ask your most important questions first, just in case time runs out before you and the teacher have a chance to discuss them all.

Be sure to ask the teacher for specific suggestions on ways to help your student do better.  This is the most important part of the meeting.  It will become your action plan. If the teacher says something you don’t quite understand, don’t be shy about asking for an explanation.

It’s a good idea to end the conference by summing up decisions you’ve made together.  If needed, ask to meet again.

Adapted from “Making Parent-Teacher Conferences Work for Your Child,”
The National PTA and National Education Association.