It’s conference time, and as a teacher I know this is not our favorite. However, over time, I realized this is a moment to get valuable information on both sides, because it shows how students are, where we must work a little harder and it also involve parents.
On the other hand, I also know even though we try hard, some parents don’t participate. But let’s do our best and take this little moment to give them the necessary information about their kids.
Here is a list of tips applied by me and other colleagues who have had very successful conferences:
a. Before the conference:
1. Keep an anecdotal record of each student’s work. This serve as a proof of their work. You can use notebooks with notes taken by you, folders with their assignments and any other method that works for you.
2. Before you meet the parents, give each student a self-assessment, this can give you valuable information of how the students feel with their work.
Here I made an example ready to print
3. Send a friendly note home confirming the day and time of the conference.
Here I made one ready to print
b . During the conference:
1. Always start with a question: -Do you have questions for me?
Make sure parents feel comfortable participating in this valuable time. If they have questions or concerns, it’s usually all that’s going to be in their minds while you are talking, so, because time is limited, it’s good to start with any questions or concerns they could have.
And of course we have those cases with Parents who don’t have any questions or don’t really know what is happening in their children lives. For those parents starting with a question, it’s a good idea, also can make them notice, they’re not paying enough attention to their son or daughter.
Here is a model that can help during the conference:
2. Have on hand evidence that shows the student work and their self-assessments.
3. Choose your battles, think carefully and consult with your coordinators what are the vital adverse situations that you must give out. When I say think well, it’s because it’s the only thing that will be on the parent’s minds after you mention it.
4. Never make diagnoses of learning or behavioral issues. You’re the teacher, but you are not qualified to make diagnoses. Let that for a professional to handle it. If a parent asks you for their kid’s behavioral or learning problems, just mention what you see. You can recommend consulting with a professional in the area or a family doctor.
5. Keep a notebook to write comments and take notes, of what parents tell you of their children. After the 4th conference,you’re going to forget what they said. With a notepad, you’re sure to keep your promises.
6. Make sure there are no surprises in the conference and “that student” who has a difficult situation was notified to his parents before. Have proof of these previous communications with the parents. I have seen cases where parents denied any knowledge of the situation. A note signed by them can save your word.
7. May your goal always be, end the conference on a positive note and that parents leave knowing that you have every intention of helping their children. Keep an open communication with them, if they need to talk more, tell them when and where they can make an appointment, call or email you.
C. After the conference:
1. Check your notes to review the relevant information on the conference.
2. If it’s necessary, book another meeting. Now, is the right time to do it, if you leave it for later on, you might forget it.
I hope this information is useful for your conferences, make sure to add your suggestion for other teachers
Thanks for reading
Text: Massiel Cabrera
Editing: Natalia Aybar
Web support: Christian Castillo