It’s that time of year for Parent-Teacher Conferences, and some parents may be wondering exactly how they should handle them. You want to know how your child is doing, but you’re worried the teacher may reveal the worst. Here are a few questions you can ask your child, the teacher, and yourself to help the conference go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Ask your child, “What am I going to hear at this conference?” This will protect you as a parent from any surprises, and it also allows your child to self evaluate him or herself. It can give you insight as to what your child believes are his or her strengths and weaknesses, and give both of you some warning about possible trouble spots. Asking your child this question holds them accountable for his or her behavior as well as schoolwork.
  2. Ask yourself the same question. You need to be honest with yourself with your concerns. No child is perfect, as much as we’d like to believe. Chances are, there is some room for improvement in some area. Try to pinpoint that before going into the conference, and you will be less likely to feel thrown off when the teacher brings it up. If you know of an issue for your child, write it down to make sure it is discussed at the conference.
  3. Ask the teacher, “What is there to learn about my child?” Take advantage of this conference to get the teacher’s opinions and his or her suggestions for helping your child. Think of this as a free meeting with a child expert, who spends an ample time of his or her day interacting with your child on a personal level. The teacher will most likely have some good feedback for you.
  4. Ask the Teacher, “What can I do to help you as a teacher?” You are the best expert in your child. Don’t be afraid to share your child’s needs, habits, and abilities with his or her teacher. Preferably, this should be done before the conference, but better late than never. If the teacher shares a concern, or if you know of a problem your child is facing, ask the teacher how you can help. You child is with his or her teacher for a maximum of eight hours a day–you are in charge of him or her the other 16 hours. Take some of the load off your child’s teacher and see what you can do at home to help him or her excel in school.
  5. Ask yourself, “What is the take away from this conference?” What suggestion or comment did you hear more than once? If you are not sure, ask the teacher before the conference ends. Then when you get home, go over what was said with your child. Be sure to include the positives in addition to the improvements. Involve your child in creating an action plan for his or her improvement, so that he or she may take some responsibility.

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Since 2002, the professional tutors at Learning Ascent in St Charles, IL have provided tutoring and ACT prep, helping thousands of students from Batavia, IL; Geneva, IL; South Elgin, IL; and other Fox Valley towns to improve their academic performance.

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