This lesson looks at the best tips for teachers for parent-teacher conferences, in order to help create positive results for both student and teacher. It gives practical examples of real-life situations. The lesson is followed by a practical quiz.
Goals of Parent-Teacher Conferences
The goals of any parent-teacher conference is to help the student to succeed.
The conversation may vary, depending on the student, the circumstances surrounding the conference and the time in the student’s academic career. However, the goal is always the same: help the student. Teachers must keep this in mind when partaking in these meetings.
The Ps of Parent-Teacher Conferences
So, now we know the purpose of parent-teacher meetings is to help the students, but how do we, as teachers, make our meetings successful? It is essential that teachers follow the rules of Ps during conferences with parents. These rules will allow for teachers to reach their goals and ensure that these conferences are productive for each student’s individual growth.
The following are the 8 Ps that are important for teachers to remember.
As with any lesson, teachers need to prepare before a meeting with a parent. Teachers should find out as much background information as necessary beforehand. Some of the things that would be helpful might include the student’s family situation, any special needs of the parents (such as a translator), and the expectations of the parents and the students.
Other things that may be important for a teacher to know, if possible, include any events occurring at home that may impact the student and the status of the student in other classes, if applicable.Here’s an example: Albert had been acting out in class. Before conferences, Ms. Pea was able to find out that Albert’s brother was in the hospital and that Albert’s parents spoke only French. Before conferences, Ms.
Pea was then able to arrange to have a translator present for the meeting and was able to approach the conference with reasonable expectations and a higher level of compassion.
Teachers must remember that they are the professional. Even if the parent does not reply in a manner that is productive, the teacher must remain calm. Teachers are the experts in the field of education. It is essential that teachers remember this fact when talking with the parents.
Try to inform and educate, rather than criticize.For example, Beatrice’s mother came into the conference screaming about the new textbook that was being used by the class. Ms. Pea calmly listened to Beatrice’s mother and then coolly and confidently replied with all of the educationally sound reasons that this book was good for the class. Even when Beatrice’s mother continued screaming, Ms. Pea never raised her voice.Please note: Even though, teachers need to always be professional, they should not accept being abused by parents.
If a teacher believes that a parent is being abusive towards them, they should immediately report this to the administration.
One of the most helpful situations for a student is when there is a partnership between teachers and parents. Working with parents can be very powerful and is preferable to working against them.For instance, Cameron’s father came to see Ms. Pea. Ms.
Pea was careful to elicit Cameron’s father’s thoughts and observations. She also used phrases such as, ‘I know that we are working together to ensure Cameron’s success,’ and, ‘What are some of the ways that you believe that we can work together to help Cameron succeed in math?’
Remember that meetings are meant to be purposeful, and not just gossip sessions. Telling parents details about their child can have some importance. However, the goal of parent-teacher conferences is furthering a child’s learning and future, which is even more important.For a quick example, let’s say Denise has been acting out in class.
Ms. Pea did not just list her infractions to her parents. Rather, she turned the meeting into a planning session of why Denise was engaging in this behavior and what could be done to curtail it.
Try to foresee what problems may arise for a student in the future. Even if the student seems to be managing well, consider if there is some future assignment or event that may prove difficult for the student.
Tell parents about this potential pitfall and work together to develop a solution. Proactivity involves finding out facts about the students that may impact their lives. Use this time to gain information about the student, which can help them have a better educational experience.For instance, Edward tended to have trouble on large projects.
When Edward’s parents came to conferences, Ms. Pea told his parents about the upcoming project and recommended ways in which they could all work together to ensure Edward’s success.
Parent-teacher conferences should never be the first time that a parent is hearing that their child is struggling. Be sure to communicate with parents earlier in the process.For example, Raymond had been belligerent and hard to teach since the beginning of the year.
Ms. Pea reached out to his parents after a few weeks of classes to discuss some of her strategies for working with Raymond. There were no surprises dropped on his parents at the meeting.
Policies ; Procedures
Know your school’s policies and procedures regarding what you can and cannot say to parents. This can protect you later on.For instance, Gavin was working hard, but couldn’t read fluently. Ms.
Pea checked with the school’s handbook and found out that teachers are not allowed to recommend that parents hire tutors for their children. Ms. Pea told Gavin’s parents about Gavin’s struggle and asked if one of them could work with him at home.
Your administration is there to back you up in any unusual or strange circumstances.
Use them if you need them.For example, Henrietta’s parents came to Ms. Pea with a significant problem that seemed far beyond her training. Ms. Pea consulted with the guidance counselors and administration about whether she should take action and, if so, what action.
This lesson introduced 8 key points on which teachers should consider before approaching parent-teacher conferences. These 8 aspects include:
- Phone calls
- Policies ; procedures
Care should be taken to follow these points, in an effort to maximize the benefits of parent-teacher conferences and to achieve the ultimate goal of helping the student.