How is my child behaving? Is she reading on grade level? What about enrichment? Does she have friends? These are just a few questions that lurk in the minds of parents as they prepare for parent/teacher conferences. This 15 to 20 minute time frame can be overwhelming, as there are so many questions to ask and lots of information to be shared in a short time period. Below are suggestions for before, during and after your conference.

Before the Conference:

  • Mark the date on your calendar to ensure that it is not mistakenly missed or forgotten.

  • Have an honest discussion with your child about how things are going at school. Encourage her to discuss her likes/dislikes and any challenges she may be facing.

  • Begin to write down your questions. Keep these questions in an easily accessible location so that you can add to or delete as necessary.

  • If you are aware that your child receives extra support beyond the general education classroom, request that those teachers also be present during the conference.

  • Start collecting work samples sent home from school that you may have questions about or want to bring to the teacher’s attention.

During the Conference:

  • Discuss any personal information that may affect your child’s school day and learning. For example, divorce in the family, medical issues or living arrangements.

  • Establish a way to communicate with the teacher that is convenient for you. Whether it is via email, phone, written message or a scheduled appointment, it’s important to have an established method from the very beginning of the school year.

  • Plan to take notes on pertinent information and recommendations made throughout the conference (bring extra paper/pen).

  • Listen carefully to the teacher’s feedback, as it is essential to your child’s academic success. If disagreements arise, clarify them while maintaining a respectful and pleasant demeanor.

  • Ask about expectations for homework, including how much can be expected per night, how and when it should be turned in.

  • Ask about the daily schedule of the classroom. This will not only give you a glimpse into your child's day, but can be great conversation starters with her at the dinner table.

  • If your child is serviced under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), briefly discuss how any accommodations will be met in the general education classroom.

After the Conference:

  • Share with your child the information that was discussed with her teacher. This will keep her informed. Be sure to include positive information and discuss targeted areas for continued growth.

  • Send a follow-up email to the teacher, thanking him for his time and effort. Include in the email any follow-up items that were discussed.