January 5, 2012
Dennis D. Dubry
January 03, 2012
The Elementary Principal’s Perspective
Get ready for parent-teacher conferences. Parent-teacher conferences provide a unique opportunity to collaborate with a key partner in your child’s education – his or her teacher. Though this meeting is often all too short, the resulting advice, strategies, and insight can help both you and the teacher enhance your child’s success in school. Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled for January 30th and February 9th , which will be here before we know it. What an exciting time for everyone to be involved in the precious lives of our children. All of us, working together in a positive manner can, and will make a difference for the future.
The following are some suggestions for getting the most out of parent-teacher conferences:
Be there, and be on time. Attending the conference may very well be one of the most important things you do for your child this school year. Keep in mind that the teacher has to meet with a lot of parents, and the conferences are usually on a tight schedule. Being punctual or even early will maximize your discussion time.
Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure your concerns are addressed. Be sure to ask about the learning goals and expectations the teacher has for your child, as well as what observations the teacher has made with your child’s performance or behavior.
Discuss specific strengths and weaknesses. By getting details about what your child is doing well in the classroom, you are in a better position to offer praise and reinforce those strengths at home. And by getting a good feel for the areas in which your child need to improve, you can better help your child rise above learning challenges.
Avoid being defensive. When confronted with issues or challenges, it is easy to get defensive. It is important to keep an open mind, offer suggestions, and not take these issues personally. The teacher’s primary aim is your child’s well-being and improvement, and by raising concerns, the teacher isn’t trying to criticize. He or she is simply seeking your help to find a solution. Remember, the teacher has the same goals that parent do – to make sure your child is successful.
Find out what you can do at home. Parents can reinforce the learning that is happening in the classroom and have a great impact on your child’s performance in school. Keep in mind that the teacher may not offer suggestions if parents don’t ask.
Ask for contact information. Parent-teacher conferences don’t have to be – and indeed, shouldn’t be – the only time during the year that parents talk to teachers. Teachers welcome parent involvement. Share phone numbers and email addresses, and find out the best time to call. After the conference, make it a habit to get in touch with the teacher on occasion.
When you get home from parent-teacher conferences, your child is going to be interested to hear what the teacher had to say. Be positive and specific. Begin by talking about all the good things that were discussed, and follow up by talking about what needs to be done to improve. Use this discussion to praise your child’s accomplishments in school and offer encouragement for future efforts. Don’t forget to use the school website and parent portal to view school activities, information, your student’s grades and attendance.
However, the website and parent portal should not replace valuable personal contact with school personnel. Please feel free to contact Bayard Public Schools at any time.