Conferencing with parents can be a breeze or a dreaded situation for all. It simply depends on the student and the parent(s) involved. I do believe that no matter what the situation is, the parent-teacher conference can be a positive experience when the teacher has planned ahead to ensure the desired outcome. This is not to say that things will always turn out the way you want them to. Obviously every situation is different as well as the dynamic of the families you serve.
Some schools have a system in place to assist with the scheduling of conferences. For those who don't, there is an organized way you can schedule your own. The first step involves determining what time slots you are available and then working to accommodate your parents.
Tips for Staying On Time
This can be one of the hardest parts of conferencing. In order to meet the high volume of conferences, most teachers opt to meet with parents in twenty-minute increments. For some students though, more time may be required.
Setting the Scene
Our environment really does affect how we feel. Creating an inviting environment for your parents at conference time can be a great way to break the ice, diffuse any anxiety, anger, or tiredness either you or the parent(s) may be feeling, and invite positive conversation.
It is crucial for the teacher to communicate with parents in the months before the conferences occur. Conferences are not the time to drop bombs. You will find that this concept is directly related to keeping each conference within the time frame you have allowed for them.
It is a good idea to have some student work available to showcase. What parent doesn't love to see some of their child's best work? Samples can also be a great way to show what areas or skills a child needs to strengthen.