I remember my first parent teacher conference vividly. My son was in Kindergarten and even as a teacher myself I was anxious about this meeting. I worried about what the teacher would say, what I would learn, how he was doing making friends and socially along with how he was doing academically. It was over in a matter of minutes and I remember thinking, wow, okay, what was I so worried about?
Here are three important things to create a great conference!
1)Parent Teacher Conferences are a time where parents and teachers can come together to really talk about the strengths and areas of improvement for a child. It is important to not just ask about how your child is doing academically in math, reading, writing, but also socially and emotionally. Our children act different at home then at school, so I have always found it interesting to learn from a teacher's perspective their view of my child. Ask about participation, friendships, and who your child is connecting with in class so you can help make those out of school playdates to strengthen those relationships. Ask what your child does when they get upset and what tools they are learning about to help regulate their emotions so you too can use those same words/strategies at home. Ask about participation and group work, how does he/she do working as team player, in a whole group setting, or individually? Maybe you find out your child could work on being more independent or work on being more of a team player and those are things you could talk about on the way to school each day setting a goal with your child in. The classroom setting is so different from the home, so asking the right questions to understand that perspective is really crucial.
2) Ask the teacher how you can help your child at home! This is super important. All children can create goals and work on something at home that we could help them at home. For instance, at one of my conferences I learned my son was just reading fiction all the time, so a goal we made was to have a more balanced diet and we began looking for non-fiction everywhere we went. At another conference, I learned my daughter was really eager to learn her multiplication facts, but before she could jump ahead she needed to be more fluent in her basic math facts, so we made a goal to play more "Math War" at home to help her with these facts. Something fun and that would help her reach her goal of learning those multiplication facts!
3) Parent Teacher Conferences are also a time to build a relationship with the teacher. I love thanking them from the beginning for all the hard work they have been doing and again always at the end. Remember this parents! Teachers work so hard and beginning with a thank you and ending with a thank you goes a long way to begin a great relationship with the teacher. They care about your child deeply and go to great lengths to plan instruction every day to help support your learner. A simple thank you goes a long way.
These are just my top 3 that I want to remind you about... below you will find a few other articles with many more helpful hints to create a successful conference. Please take the time after to share all the great things with your child you heard and also set goals on anything they want help improving on. This feedback and just appreciation of celebrating our children right where they are, their unique personalities, and helping them reach their potential are the encouragers are children need.
Have fun at the conference. Try not to be anxious.-) Be excited and grateful for all the good learning your child is doing and hopeful for all the great growth that is about to happen this year!
And thank you, for coming and making it a priority!