Parent Teacher Conferences
Does anything give a teacher more anxiety than parent teacher conferences? I don’t know about you, but I always dreaded conference season! Even though I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most incredible parents in my career, I still get so nervous before meeting with them!
Over the years, parent teacher conferences have become much easier for me to run. Don’t get me wrong, I still deal with the nerves – but I have found a system that works well for me. Keep reading for all my tips for running a successful parent teacher conference!
Tips for Parent Teacher Conferences
Tip #1: Start Early
By far the thing that has helped me the most is to initiate beginning of the year conferences with parents! I think the most nerve-wracking part of conferences for me is when I don’t know what to expect at a conference. Taking the time to get to know parents and build a relationship with them early in the year has made this fear of the unknown virtually disappear. It sets up a great rapport with parents from the get-go, and I know exactly what to expect every time I speak with them.
Parent conferences often seem like a negative thing, especially when they only come up when there’s a problem. Making an effort to meet with every parent at the beginning of the year BEFORE problems arise allows for much more open, positive communication. Plus, parents will appreciate the effort you make to get to know them.
You can read more about how I run beginning of the year parent teacher conferences here.
Tip #2: Be Prepared
No judgment – but raise your hand if you’ve ever winged a parent teacher conference? *Raises hand* I think we’ve all been there! And while I totally get that last minute conferences occasionally come up, being prepared can really help ease a lot of the anxiety!
If you know what the conference is about ahead of time, be prepared to discuss student progress, areas of improvement, and action steps as it pertains to the particular topic. Write down relevant grades, pull student work samples, and brainstorm questions the parents might ask (and be prepared to answer them).
If you don’t know what the meeting will be about, or it’s just a general progress update, you can still do a lot of the same prep. Write down both the strengths and areas of improvement for the student. Brainstorm action steps for the areas of improvement and practical ways the parent can help. Write down all student grades or pull the most recent progress report. You may also want to pull relevant student work samples.
Tip #3: Get Organized
I will never, ever recommend running parent teacher conferences without having everything written down ahead of time! It’s not unprofessional – it’s practical! Fill out your conference forms, make copies of student work samples, and print any handouts that parents will take home with them. I highly recommend putting together a folder for each student that contains all of this stuff. That way, when it’s time, just pull the student’s folder and get started!
Another tip is to have your students fill out a self-reflection survey prior to the conference. This will tell you and the parents how the students feel about school and their progress.
Keep reading for more tips on preparing conference forms.
Parent Teacher Conferences Forms
Filling out forms ahead of time for your parent teacher conferences is one of the best ways to get prepared! I suggest taking the time up front to fill out your forms thoroughly, and then reference them during the conference. If you’d like, you can make a copy to send home with the parents, too. Below is a list of important information that should be included in your conference forms:
- Relevant student grades
- List of any missing or incomplete assignments
- Student strengths (areas they do well)
- Areas of improvement
- Action steps for improvement areas
- Important notes from conference
Click here to view my parent teacher conference forms.
Questions for Parent Teacher Conferences
Another way I like to get prepared for parent teacher conferences is by brainstorming potential questions parents might ask. This way, I can make sure I am prepared to answer. Some common questions parents might ask are:
- How can I help at home?
- Can I have a list of websites/resources/tools that I should look into to help at home?
- Why is their grade so low in [subject area]?
- Why has their grade dropped since the last progress report?
- How can they bring their grade back up?
- Do they have any missing assignments or incomplete work?
- How is their behavior?
- In what areas do they need to work on more?
- How do they interact with their peers?
Parent Teacher Conferences Checklist
Want to get a FREE checklist to help you prepare well for parent teacher conferences? Enter your email below and I’ll send one straight to your inbox!
To use, just print one out for each of your students and check off each item as you prepare for the conference. You’ll never be caught off guard for parent teacher conferences again!