Parent Teacher Conferences can be stressful for both parents and teachers alike, but it really is a great opportunity to come together as a team and touch base about your students. I truly believe that establishing a great relationship with parents is very important for a successful year. Below are my tips to a great PTC, even with a cute acronym to help you remember!
S- Start With A Prayer (or kind word) – Being in a Christian school I have the opportunity to pray with my parents which is wonderful. I always start out a conference with prayer. I thank God for the child, their family and ask Him to bless our time together. I feel like this helps calm everyone’s nerves and focuses our minds on why we are meeting. If you don’t teach at a Christian school or prayer isn’t something that you do, start off your conference with a kind word. A few weeks before conferences carry around a notepad and jot down something sweet or special that you see each kiddo doing, then share that with the parents. A kind word goes a long way.
M- Make Sure To Listen – So many times parents just need to feel like they are being heard or they need to know that you value what they say. Pretty early on in my conferences I like to ask parents how they think the year has gone so far. It’s an open ended question that allows them to express their thoughts as well as let’s you judge how they are feeling before you proceed.
I- Itemize And Summarize Learning – Having a clear way to present their child’s progress so far is really important. That can be a report card, a conference summary sheet, a task assessment print out… Whatever you decide to use, make sure it is easy to read and gives the parents factual information about their child’s progress. Then take the time to go through it with them and make sure they understand. I love ESGI Assessment Software and with their program it is so easy to print parent reports. Click here to read more about ESGI.
L – Learn Something New – During your time together look for something new that you can learn about your student. Maybe meeting with mom and dad will give you a better understanding of their child. You could ask some clarifying questions about home life or personal situations if they seem to be affecting the child. Even just learning more about an interest or special hobby can help you better connect with your students.
E – End With A Goal – Giving parents a goal or way to help their child move forward is a great way to wrap things up. Provide something tangible that parents can reasonably help with. It could be giving them sight word flash cards to practice at home or starting a behavior communication notebook for a child that is struggling with social emotion skills. Anything that helps the parents stay involved and will benefit the child is great!
I hope these tips help your PTC’s be a great experience for both you and the parents in your class. And remember to SMILE!