Tips to Prepare for a Parent-Teacher Conference
by Christy L. Breithaupt, Special to The Detroit News,
August 3, 2004
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conferences are designed for both the parent and the teacher to
learn things about the children in question. Preparation is key
if you really want to utilize your time with your childís
teacher, says Joan Firestone, director of early childhood for
Here are 10 tips on how to prepare for a better parent-teacher
1. Write down any questions you might have. Often parents will
have several questions but forget them as soon as they sit down.
2. Talk with your child before the conference to see if he has
any questions or concerns heíd like you to discuss. Also, ask
your child if thereís anything he thinks you should know before
going so that there wonít be any surprises.
3. Although parent-teacher conferences can be a place to discuss
problems, itís better if you attack large problems when they
happen. Donít wait until a conference to contact your teacher
about a serious issue.
4. If you have questions about some of the work your child has
done or a grade given by the teacher, bring the papers in
question to the conference. The teacher most likely has copies
but it will save you time if you bring your own.
5. At the fall conferences when youíre meeting a new teacher,
come prepared to tell the teacher about your child. Include in
your description the childís personality, academic difficulties
and family goals. This will allow the teacher to better assist
6. Tell the teacher about any family issues, such as a divorce
or death in the family. This can explain any changes in mood and
help the teacher watch out for the child.
7. If your child has any nagging health problems, such as
chronic ear infections, let the teacher know so the problem can
be identified quickly.
8. If the teacher says something upsetting about your child, be
sure to keep your cool. Remember, the teacher is sharing this
information for the good of your child. If, after a long
discussion, you and the teacher cannot see eye-to-eye, you can
request the principalís help.
9. If possible, both parents should attend the conference. This
allows the parents to bounce ideas off each other later and can
help to give the teacher a deeper understanding of your child.
If both parents are unable to attend, most teachers will create
separate time slots.
10. As your children enter high school, it may be helpful to
bring a photo of your child to the conference. Teachers often
have more than 200 students and some quiet children might be
better recognized by picture than by name.
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