Parent Teacher Conference Reflection
As Parent-Teacher Conferences loom ever close this week it was interesting to find an article in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday on Child and Teacher Clashes of all things. As the article states, “no one wants to be that helicopter parent who swoops in and rescues a youngster from any adversity. But no parent wants to stand by while a child suffers harm because of a bad teacher.” With our vast number of ways to communicate today (phone, email, texts, social media, etc.) open channels of conversation should alleviate the need to swoop in.
When a teacher has a student that may be struggling academically or causing behavioral issues, regular communication with parents is essential. I believe a key ingredient to a successful learning experience is a partnership between parent and teacher. Secondary school parents miss the connection they had with elementary school teachers. In middle school and high school, parent conferences establish a new type of connection by providing regular contact with parents.
To get the most out of parent-teacher conferences, parents need to take an active role in their child’s education year-round and come prepared to discuss how their child can reach their full potential. Do your homework prior to parent-teacher conferences. Prepare by writing notes to yourself concerning things you can share with the teacher about your child and his/her life at home, questions about your child’s progress in class, and the teacher's classroom procedures. Don’t be afraid to engage in a frank conversation with your child’s teacher. Your goal is to develop an action plan for your child’s success at school. The following are some great questions to ask your child's teacher:
- What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
- How does my child get along with classmates?
- Is my child working up to his/her ability? Where could she/he use improvement?
- What can we do at home to support what you are doing in the classroom?
Finally, realize that parent-teacher conferences are not the only time you may contact teachers. Be a proactive advocate for your child, but realize not unlike you, your child’s teacher wants him/her to be as successful as possible.
On a separate note—please let me know your feeling about setting appointments for conferences. Or, would you rather just come and wait in line to see a teacher. Your input in this matter will greatly help our decision process on the matter of parent-teacher conferences.