Parent-Teacher Conferences are quickly approaching, and it’s time to prepare for these meaningful opportunities to connect with your students’ families.
To be a successful teacher, it is important to engage and build trust with your students and their families. Did you know that research shows that strong family involvement increases student achievement? By having more contact with families, teachers can learn more about students’ needs and home environments. Having this information enhances the ability to better meet those needs. Family members who are involved tend to have a more positive view of teachers, which results in a collaborative effort to support student success. Effective parent-teacher conferences can increase family involvement in your classroom and assist you, your children, and your school in achieving positive student learning outcomes.
In February of 2021, Teach.com published an article entitled How to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences. The author emphasizes that preparation is the key to successful parent-teacher conferences. To support this idea, a preparation “To-Do List” for teachers is provided and includes the following:
- Set the agenda. Send a list of discussion topics in advance to parents.
- Be prepared. Do your homework and know everything you can about the child.
- Be welcoming. Sit at a table with parents so that you are meeting as equals.
- Maintain the three Ps . Be polite, positive and professional to set the meeting’s tone.
- Identify what is expected. Work together to set common goals for the student.
- Listen to the parents. Focus on responses and be ready to follow up.
- Plan regular updates. Schedule regular feedback on the student’s progress.
- Set a time limit. Prevent getting stuck in an unproductive cycle of discussion.
Michelle McDonald, secondary social studies educator and Strategic Educational Services website blogger provides ten parent-teacher conference tips for new teachers:
- Keep a checklist of tasks
- Invite both parents (if not in the same home)
- Invite the school counselor, principal, & educational providers
- Prep conference notes in file folders
- Start and end the conference with positives
- Show examples of student work
- Provide resources for parents to partner in their child’s education
- Update parent contact information
- Schedule follow up if you run out of time
- Have a colleague check in
To learn more about her suggestions, read the full blog entry HERE.
Hungry for more information to build relationships with your students’ families?
You will love watching this youtube video of Dr. Danny Brassell as he shares a story of the early career advice he received from eighty year old mentor “Miss. Estelle”. He suggests teachers build relationships with families using a “Sugar over Vinegar” approach.
As NC New Teacher Support Program Coaches, we may not be able to find you a “Miss Estelle, but we are your biggest FANS! YOUR success is Our success! As you prepare for this year’s parent- teacher conferences and family engagement events, don’t hesitate to ask your coach about upcoming professional development opportunities, strategies and resources that will increase your ability to build on the varying cultural and community norms of your students and their families. “Together, you can give your students the roots to grow and the wings to fly”.
Contributor: Jami Graham, UNC-Pembroke
NC NTSP Blog Team: Bradley Sasser- ECU, Sandy Corbett- ECU, Jackie Aponte -UNC, , Lori Best- UNCW/WCU/FSU, Kathy Fields- UNC, Adreian Pitts-UNCG/APP State, Jami Graham-UNCP,Maghan Kirschner, UNCC