Effective parent communication is a critical component of being a teacher. Parent teacher conferences are one method to communicate successfully with parents. It is important to note, however, that you should never wait to discuss a pressing issue until parent conferences. Parents want to be informed of significant issues quickly. Waiting to inform them of something you have known for a couple of weeks or even a few days can potentially undermine the conference. Parent teacher conferences have two significant flaws that teachers that are effective overcome. The first is that you rarely get the parents to attend that you truly need. Instead, you mostly get the parents of students who excel academically and are well behaved. This is no coincidence as there is a direct link between academic success and parental involvement. The other issue is that parent teacher conference attendance decreases significantly as students get older. Even high school students need their parents to be just as involved as they were in their elementary years and the reality is that middle school students especially. Parent teacher conferences can be an exceptionally beneficial tool for teachers.

Tips for successful parent teacher conference

Positive changes can occur as a result of a parent teacher conference. It is the teacher’s job to conduct a meaningful conference and to entice parents into attending these conferences. The latter can be especially challenging. Key component of conducting a successful parent teacher conference is planning ahead. Planning should start 3-4 weeks in advance to ensure that the parents have plenty of notice. The first step is to send out written notification of the conference giving them the opportunity to select a time to attend. It is always necessary to send home reminder notes about a week in advance. Take the time to call them and personally invite them to the conference for parents who do not return a note indicating they are going to attend. This is especially crucial for getting those parents who you truly need to see to attend. Send home reminder stickers immediately before the conference reminding parents of the time they selected to attend finally. Preparation begins with having your room organized and clean. A dirty room is a turnoff for parents and can become a distraction. Do so before the conference in case you haven’t changed bulletin boards in a while. Have student assessment data, student grades, and student work samples ready to present to parents. Have these things laid out for the parent to look at when they arrive. Part of preparation is to ensure that you stay on schedule. The next parent may get frustrated and leave in case a particular conference goes over time. Having a purpose goes hand in hand with preparation. Each student has their own set of unique strengths, weaknesses, and needs. Jot down a few notes on each student before the conference. It is important to give them some strategies and suggestions to that they can do at home to help improve these areas in addition to going over these needs with the parents.