Parent Teacher Conference Checklist & Tips for Parents
Prepare to Make the Most of Your Teacher Meeting
You and your child’s teacher have something in common – you both want your child to learn and to succeed in school, this year and beyond! Communication is key to making this happen and Parent Teacher Conferences are an important time for opening up and building a positive partnership.
Because teachers meet with every student’s parents, these meetings are often short on time and can feel overwhelming (and underwhelming). With a little preparation, you can make the most of your meeting time and set the stage for the best outcomes for your child. Check out our helpful Parent Teacher Conference checklist for parents and print a copy before your next conference.
Before the Conference
Sit down with your child before the conference and explain that you are meeting with their teacher to see how the school year is going. Ask them how they feel about school and if there is anything they want you to specifically address with the teacher. Be sure to stress that they are not in any trouble – this meeting is to see how you can best support their school efforts at home.
Review your child’s grades, recent homework, and progress reports.
Talk to family members, after-school caregivers, mentors, coaches, etc. for their input on your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
Prepare a list of questions such as:
Which subjects are my child's strongest and which are challenging?
Does my child turn in homework on time?
Does my child participate in class?
Does my child seem happy at school?
How are my child's social skills?
What can I do at home to support your efforts and my child's academic progress?
How are my child's test-taking skills?
Has my child missed any classes other than excused absences?
If meeting virtually, be sure to download or access online the video conferencing software (Zoom, Skype, etc.) sometime before the designated meeting time. Open the software and familiarize yourself with the basic functions of connecting, accessing video, and testing your audio.
If you don’t speak English, ask the teacher to invite an interpreter to your meeting or ask a relative or friend to join you. (Do not allow your child to interpret for you.)
During the Conference
Be on time (or early) for the meeting. You’ll want every minute allotted to your conference!
Ask the most important questions first.
Share your thoughts and observations of your child with the teacher, including interests and challenges that you’re aware of.
Discuss any new learning or medical needs with your child’s teacher, as well as any recent events that may affect your child (such as divorce, a new sibling, a death in the family, etc.).
Remember to remain calm during the conference – both you and the teacher have the same goal!
Ask for specific examples or clarification of anything you don’t understand.
Be sure to ask your child's teacher for ways you can support your child’s education at home.
End the meeting on time. There is likely a conference after yours, and your child’s teacher will appreciate that you have respected the time constraints. If there is more to say, ask to schedule a longer conference on a different day.
Don’t forget to THANK the teacher for all he or she does for your child!
After the Conference
Your child may have some anxiety about the conference, so be sure to talk about it with them. Keep it positive, but mention any areas of concern. Talk to your child about any plans/ideas that came out of the conference.
Stay in touch with the teacher throughout the school year, especially if there are plans in place for improving your child’s educational experience.
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