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Teachers, are you ready for conferences?

November 1, 2017

Ok teachers, it’s that time of year. Parent conferences are coming! Don’t panic. Doing some planning and preparation can make the whole process less daunting and the conferences more productive.

For many parents and teachers, this is your first real sit down together to discuss their children. This conversation can often set the tone for your partnership for the rest of the year. Many districts have whittled down that conference time to only ten minutes and in that time, both teacher and parents want to get across their most pressing thoughts and concerns.

So here are some tips to help you optimize the time and create a positive vibe!

Before the conferences, take a moment to review a few pieces of work from each student. Look over a recent witting piece, some reading responses, maybe a math assignment or some “exit slips”. Sometimes having that information fresh in your mind helps to convey any progress or concerns you may want to highlight.

Make notes! Create an index card for each student’s conference. Include one ‘glow’ and one ‘grow’, whether it be academic related or behavioral. If you want to make a specific suggestion for that student, add that too. After 20 conferences, it’s easy to forget important things you want to say and it helps to keep conferences from sounding generic.

Utilize your space to create a positive, relaxed feeling between you and the parents. If you have a round table, try that in place of a desk. Even better, sit side-by-side, to create a more ‘team’ approach versus an ‘us vs them’ one.

Brush up on your school’s and district’s policies.  Be prepared to offer a resource to a parent or answer questions regarding special education evaluations or 504s, reading or math interventions, OT/PT, filing HIB reports, social workers, etc.

Be prepared to offer a follow up for those conferences that may need some more time. Check your calendar ahead of time and offer some days or times to meet again, email, or call to discuss things further.

Lastly, make a one sheet with suggestions for homework help, apps and websites that might be of use, and a supply wish list for the classroom.

Not every conference will go as planned, end on time , or even end on a positive note. However, taking a few moments to prepare can make all the difference. Good luck!

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