Preparing for parent-teacher conferences can be challenging and nerve-wracking for many teachers, but it doesn’t have to be! If you are prepared for each parent-teacher conference and you follow these parent-teacher conference tips, you will do great! Today, I am going to answer 5 commonly asked questions about conferences!
What do you prepare before the conference?
Before having a conference, I always have a few things prepared and ready to go.
- A note from the student to their parents- this is a great discussion starter and an easy way to make the conference comfortable. I have the note sitting on the table and let them read it while I am getting everything for that specific conference ready. (This really helps when parents are coming in back to back).
- Any tests or documentation that I need to share, IEPs, 504s, benchmark tests, etc.
- A conference form- this is something I fill out beforehand with all my notes ready to go. I can write notes on it during the conference and make two copies, one for them and one for me. It basically says all the child’s strengths and weaknesses that I am going to talk about. Filling these out takes a little bit of time before, but then I know exactly what I am going to say (and everything I am going to say is documented). Grab this form for free below !
How do you go through the conference?
I always run my conferences just like this…
- Share the note from the student
- Share a fun memory or anecdote about their student. Something I love about them or something that happened in the classroom.
- Share their strengths
- Share their areas to improve on
- Share any relevant test scores
- Give 1 or 2 tips for things to do at home
- Ask them for questions
What if the questions they ask catch you off guard?
Well, they don’t have to! 😉
I always send a parent-teacher conference questionnaire home before the conference. This makes it really easy to know what they are going to want to talk about before the conference and you can put it on the conference form (the free one above).
There are several free options, like this one, on TpT!
What do you do if a conference is going bad?
If I suspect that a conference could get uncomfortable for whatever reason, I always ask an admin to sit in with me.
But if I don’t suspect it to get uncomfortable and it is, I try to just focus on strengths and tell them I will look into their concerns and get back to them within a few days.
I also try to schedule all of my conferences back to back so if it is getting uncomfortable I can say that I need to meet with the next parents and then email them within a few days about their concerns.
By doing the questionnaire beforehand, typically all parents that are upset about something will fill it out. This gives you time to prepare for something that might come up.
How do you survive those long days and/or nights?
Conferences are the most exhausting thing in the world. Let’s just be honest.
How do I survive? Rewarding myself!
I always set up something super fun the weekend after conferences as a reward to look forward to!
Make sure to grab that freebie above to prepare!