|1. Talk to your child before the conference.
Ask your child what she would like you to discuss at the meeting. One strategy is to say, "I'm going to be meeting with your teacher; what will she tell me?" Your child's response will give you ideas for what to discuss with the teacher.
2. Ask questions.
Come to the conference with a list of questions regarding your child's academic and social issues, as well as questions about the teacher's philosophy. Some good questions to ask may include:
What are my child's strengths/weaknesses?
What can I do from home to extend my child's learning at home?
Is my child working up to his or her ability? If not, what can we do to change that?
How well does my child get along with classmates?
How do you evaluate my child?
How do you challenge a student if he/she is excelling?
How can you support my child if he is falling behind?
What is your homework policy?
3. Share information about your child.
Teachers need your help as they educate your children, and no one knows your child better than you. The more you share about your childboth her strengths and weaknessesthe better the teacher will successfully meet his/her needs.
4. Raise issues of concern.
Plan ahead of time how you will raise issues of concern. When expressing concerns be tactful, but not so much that you don't communicate the problem clearly. Listen to what the teacher has to say in response to the problem. Then work together to find a solution.
5. Take notes.
Take notes during the conference so that you remember everything the teacher says. After the meeting, review your notes. If something is unclear, schedule a follow-up meeting with the teacher to clarify.
6. Make the most of your time.
Conferences are usually scheduled for a 15-20 minutes. Make the most of your meeting by arriving on time. Try not to bring babies or young children to the meeting as they can cause distractions.
How much should you share with your child after the conference? It is recommended that you only share what is helpful, focusing as much as possible on the positive aspects. It is essential that your child understands that you and the teacher are there to support them and to make their school experience the best it can be.
Adapted from an article by Jackie Glassman M.S. Ed for Discovery.com