It’s that time of year again, whether you’re going to be attending in person or on Zoom, parent teacher conferences are coming. Here are some quick tips from a teacher’s mind to help things run smoothly.
Talk to Your Child
Before you even set foot in the classroom, talk to your child about how school is going. Ask them how they feel about math, reading etc. Are there any areas they are struggling, are there any areas the teacher might say they are struggling with. Check in with them and see if they feel like they are an important part of the classroom. Getting their perspective will help you see if there is a disconnect in perception versus reality. See if they have a grow and a glow about where they are and where they’d like to be. Evaluate if that matches what the teacher would say. It’s OK if they don’t, but at least you will see what page everyone is on.
Teachers have a million acronyms for programs, tests, and apps. Ask questions if you don’t understand. Teachers are like doctors and forget not everyone knows what in the world RTI is! Most teachers will ask if you have any questions toward the end of the conference, and it’s OK to ask! Make a list beforehand or even during the conference. Just ask!
Teachers want your child to be successful. It’s all about partnering. Don’t assume the statement, “Your child has a hard time following directions” is code for, “Your child is awful and needs to be medicated!” Sometimes they just want to problem solve WITH you! Team up with the teacher to see if the challenging behavior happens during a certain time of day, or with a friend they are sitting by. There are three people in this relationship.
If you hear that your child is struggling in any way, ask for practical ways you can help at home. Just because you’re a sports family doesn’t mean your child can’t learn multiplication facts. You still spend more time with your child than the teacher does. Just ask for quick and easy ways that would fit your busy schedule. If you need resources to help out at home, don’t be afraid to ask for those, too.
If the teacher sets a timeline for skills mastery, or says they will, “check in about that.” Please follow up. We are meeting with 25+ other parents who all need the teacher to do something. If it’s been a few days and the teacher hasn’t contacted you, reach out and follow up. The brain of a teacher is that of a never ending revolving to do list.
Parent teacher conferences can be stressful, especially for first-time moms. But, just remember to breathe – we all have the same goal!