Parent Teacher Conference Scheduling Success
Helpful Tips for Teachers and Parents
Parent Teacher Conferences are a powerful and important opportunity to bring parents and teachers together in partnership to support student academic success and happiness. Even though short in duration (typically scheduled for 15- 30 minutes), parent teacher conferences also provide a critical space for fostering mutual admiration, respect and parental involvement for the entire school year. We’ve gathered fresh tips and check lists to make the entire process more meaningful and hassle-free for everyone involved.
While each parent only has a few conferences to attend, teachers are holding conferences for all the parents in the classroom and they can be frustrating to conduct (and attend) without adequate preparation. The easiest part of the Parent Teacher conference should be scheduling the conference appointment! SignUp.com offers free, online Parent Teacher Conference SignUps that sync with eCalendars in real time – and can be accessed 24/7 from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Check out our tips and suggestions to help the conference run smoothly, be more productive, and help all parties get the most out of this important short meeting.
There are a few steps teachers can take to host a successful Parent Teacher Conference. The first and most important aspect of the Parent Teacher Conference is attendance. If you can’t get the parents to attend the conference they will miss out on crucial information about their child.
Every teacher hopes for 100 percent participation when it comes to Parent Teacher Conferences. Research shows that family involvement improves school performance and social skills and can be a predictor for student success. Follow these three easy ideas to organize, schedule and remind parents for your easiest and most successful conferences ever!
If the thought of scheduling this year’s Parent Teacher Conferences brings up something that feels like a cousin to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, we have great news: SignUp.com brings you hassle-free scheduling with free, online Parent Teacher Conference SignUps, automated reminders and real time eCalendar syncing.
That’s right – no more sending out mass emails. No more physical notes tucked into your students’ backpacks. No more follow-up telephone calls. No more clipboard sign up sheets with names and times that need to be entered into a spreadsheet by hand. Online SignUps from SignUp.com has taken the stress out of scheduling parent teacher conferences, leaving you the opportunity to focus on the conferences themselves.
With SignUp it’s easy and quick to schedule parent conference times for single or multiple days and also for recurring office-hours. Parents love that they can choose their appointment in about a minute from their smartphones, no password required. Both parents and teachers have access to the schedule 24/7 from mobile devices, and easy calendar syncing keeps everyone up-to-date in real time.
- Schedule Parent-Teacher Conferences Online: Easy set up allows teachers to create individual conference spots as their own shifts and assign them to a specific time slot. One day's schedule can then be duplicated to all future conference dates with the click of button. AND, there’s an autofill feature that allows teachers to set up repeating conference slots in seconds. Click here for a demo and watch our video below to see how easy set up is.
- Make Use of Technology to Reach Parents: Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to have meaningful conferences virtually. Using Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts, parents can connect from almost anywhere, and it’s free! The easier you make it to connect, the more likely you are to have an engaged and successful parent-teacher relationship. A week before scheduled conferences, contact parents who have not signed up and offer one of these alternative ways to discuss their child's progress and goals.
- Encourage Two-Way Communication: Although the amount of time allotted for student conferences is usually short, make sure you leave a few minutes to allow parents to offer feedback, express concern or ask questions. If the conversation seems to be running long, ask parents to schedule a longer conference at a later date. Parents are more likely to support your efforts at home if they feel valued and heard.
Now that you have met with the parents and discussed their child’s assessments, it’s time for the follow-up.
As teachers, you know that follow-up is key after parent teacher conferences. But what you might not be focusing on is following up with your students. Students, when not included in the conference appointment, are often curious and slightly apprehensive about what you might have learned from their parents during the parent/teacher conferences.
This year, why not have a short follow-up conference with your students to reassure them and develop an action plan for building on strengths and addressing learning opportunities. Use these helpful tips to build a deeper relationship with your students.
- Keep It Safe. Be wary of revealing anything you learned of a confidential nature from your student’s parents or guardians. Your student might feel betrayed by his parents if they’ve revealed something he wasn’t ready to share. Avoid embarrassing your student with funny stories you learned during the conference.
- Keep It Short. Try not to overwhelm your student with action items resulting from the conference. Simply touch base, give a broad overview of what was covered during the conference, and list one or two things that you can work on together.
- Keep It Reassuring. Students really want you to like their families, and they really want their families to like you. Everything will go smoother if the adults in a kid’s life are working collaboratively and getting along.
- Keep It a Conversation. Remember that student/teacher conferences build good working relationships between you and your students. Avoid lecturing, or presenting a long to-do list. Respectfully listen as your students express concerns or opinions.
- Keep it Positive. Express your confidence in the student, and your belief that she can reach her potential in class.
By involving your students directly in their education and creating an environment of mutual admiration and respect, everyone wins.
Parent Teacher Conferences are brief, high impact glimpses into the academic success of your child as a student. They are often short on time and can be frustrating without adequate preparation. Meeting with your child’s teacher is an important way to stay informed on the progress of your child and parent teacher conferences are also an exceptional way to develop a positive relationship, and establish meaningful communication with your student’s teacher. Make the most out of your Parent Teacher Conference by following this helpful checklist to maximize the effectiveness of the conference for both you and your child’s teacher.
- Before the Conference
- Sit down with your child before the conference and explain that you are meeting with her teacher to see how the school year is going. Ask her how she feels about school and if there is anything she wants you to specifically address with the teacher. Be sure to stress that she is not in any trouble – this meeting is to see how you can best support your child’s school efforts at home.
- Prepare a list of questions such as:
- What are my child's strongest and weakest subjects?
- Does my child hand homework in on time?
- Does my child participate in class?
- Does my child seem happy at school?
- What can I do at home to help?
- 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. Some sample questions are:
- What are my child's strengths and weaknesses?
- Does my child participate in class?
- Does my child seem happy in class?
- How can I support your efforts 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.
- Remember to stay calm during the conference.
- Ask for specific examples or clarification of anything you don’t understand.
- Ask your child's teacher for ways you can support your child’s education at home.
- 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 him. Keep it positive, but mention any areas of concern. Talk to your child about any plans/ideas that came out of the conference.
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Get more helpful hints for a stress-free parent teacher conference season here!