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Make the Most of Parent–Teacher Conferences

September 27th, 2017     By Kristin Bieber, Ph.D., Boys Town Child and Adolescent Psychologist

Parent-Child Relationships, Parenting Skills, School

Parent–teacher conferences play an important role in the education of your child. First quarter of the school year typically ends with a 15-minute conference. For many parents, these conferences are the first time they hear that their child is struggling in class or with peers, and there just isn’t much time to discuss the details.

In general, communication with your child’s school is important. So, attending parent-teacher conferences is one way to send a message to your child and to teachers that you value what’s happening at school and that learning is important to you and your family.

Questions to Ask at Parent–Teacher Conferences

As a parent, you can make the most of those 15 minutes and get the answers you need about your child’s school progress. Here are some questions to ask during your parent–teacher conference:

  • What is my child doing well?
  • What progress have you seen since the start of the school year (or since we last spoke)?
  • How is my child doing compared to his/her classmates?
  • Are my child’s skills on track for a student of his/her age?
  • Is there something you have been working on with my child that he/she is just not getting?
  • How can I help to improve my child’s skills and studies from home?

Parent–Teacher Conferences for Your Teen

Typically, communication between parents and teachers becomes less frequent as students get older and transition to middle and high school. This is understandable: The older the student, the more responsibility he/she is given to complete assignments and manage time. However, as a parent, you still have an important role to play in your teen’s education. Establishing relationships with school personnel and staying involved in school at home will help you and your teen successfully navigate transitions into middle and high school.

Talk With Your Child After Conferences

Sitting down with your child after parent–teacher conferences is a good way to send a message to your child that you and his/her teacher are working together to help him/her succeed in school. Focus on what came out of the meeting that was positive. If your child still has work to do to improve, discuss that, too, but still mention the positives, whether it was improving in an area or overcoming a past issue.

Stay in Touch Throughout the School Year

Many parents only contact the teacher or school when they have concerns. However, you should try to build a strong relationship with school personnel by making positive contact whenever possible. Show appreciation for the efforts that teachers and counselors are making to help your child. Everyone benefits when relationships between home and the school are positive, collaborative and bidirectional.

 

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