Parent-teacher conference is an informal type of meeting between the parents and the teacher of their kid’s school , regarding the assessment of their kid’s formal academic performance. It is a one-to-one question-&-answer and discussion session between the teacher and the parents of all their students.
Now school as we know, involves teaching a diverse number of subjects and topics to all it’s students. Hence it helps the student, the teacher and ultimately his/her parents to discover the unknown, existing skill that he/she may have. This discovery of a potential skill, is extremely important for the future of any student. Which is where the parent-teacher conference attains it’s importance, since it involves the discussion on such skills observed by either one of them, the parent or the teacher.
But the parent-teacher conferences are not the completely the same as it sounds. Although the teachers/educators try their best to make the conference effective, there happens to exist some obstacles that the parents has to face during the conference.
Let’s have a look at those obstacles below:
- Short time duration – each parent gets a very short time duration with the teacher, about 10-30 minutes, which may seem less if not well prepared.
- Minute frequency – the general frequency of these conferences at all schools is twice or thrice a year. So this obstacle is quite tricky, with the low frequency and less time duration.
- A lot of attendants – you’ll not be the only parent attending the conference, there will be other parents too, and the number is always big.
- Exhausted teacher – this is an inevitable situation that’ll occur to the teacher, after attending 80-100 parents in a single day. So maybe, by the time it’s your chance, the teacher might be extremely exhausted.
So these are quite the obstacles that parents find in their way to a good conference. But then again they’re are obstacles, and with proper thinking and planning, they can definitely be cleared. So let’s go through some precise planning to make the most of parent teacher conferences.
Prior to conference –
- Stay updated – usually such conferences are pre-planned by the school, and they let you know in advance about the dates. So accordingly you need to start preparing for it. First of all (and always), you need to stay updated with all the the reports, assessments and notices of your kid by the school.
- Frame your questions – after the universal step of knowing all the reports and assessments, you need to frame questions based on the data, your kid’s performance, academic skills and any other related topic, except the potential skills (you must keep it at the last).
- Arrange your questions – after you’ve framed a particular set of questions to be asked to the teacher, you need to appropriately arrange the questions in the order you’ll be asking them. And to not jumble later on with the arrangement, you must write down the questions in your personalized order.
- Possible turns – this whole planning for the conference thing can completely be related to planning for a formal business meeting. You need to think of the possible turns the line of your questions and the answers to it can take. And for every possible turn, frame your new response/question to it, so that you get all your answers precisely.
During the conference –
- Greet – as explained above in one of the obstacles, after continuously attending a number of parents, the teacher will be exhausted. So it would be better to start your meeting with a warm greeting and, perhaps asking about his/her day. That can possible de-stress the teacher to some extent, and ultimately your discussion may get a crisp start.
- Listen and note – first let the teacher speak all about your kid in the way he/she has planned. They may always begin with positive points and then, slowly shift to the negative ones. And you need to note all of it, the positive ones for improvising, and the negative ones for reversing them. And only start discussing over the points, after the teacher has finished.
- Begin with your list – after the assessment from the teacher is acknowledged, you need to start with your questions in your pre-decided order, and get your answers to them.
- Possible turns – you must be prepared about the possible turns from the “prior to conference planning.” So look for those turns, and accordingly do the cross-questioning, just remember one thing to do, clear all your doubts from the teacher.
- Potential skills – after the teacher has explained everything and all your questions are solved, you can move onto asking or sharing (if noticed) the skills your child could potentially develop, because you and your kid’s teacher, both observe him/her the most.
- My work – this is the last step, which is in reference to the potential skills of your kid. If you or the teacher has caught any, then ask him to guide you so that you can help your kid in developing the skills. You need to know the things you have to do for developing your kid’s skills.
And this marks the end of your preparation for the parent-teacher conference. Now before you attend it, make sure to note all of the teacher’s points and later on, look at them from the teacher’s perspective. This will help you a lot in tracking your kid’s performance.