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Parent-Teacher Conference: Tips for Teachers

Updated on August 19, 2010

tips for teachers

As a retired teacher, I have certainly had my share of parent-teacher conferences. When I was young and inexperienced, I hated these meetings. I always felt a little on the defensive, like I was having to justify or prove myself to parents. As I got older and had more experience under my proverbial belt, however, I actually looked forward to meeting the moms and dads of my students. If you're a new teacher, you might benefit from the following advice.

Come prepared. Have the student's grades with you, along with a couple of recent tests or assignments turned in by the student. If the student has been a behavior problem, make sure you have adequate documentation with you, including the specific misbehavior, when it occurred, and what actions were taken on your part.

Have backup if you think you'll need it. If you've spoken to the parent on the phone and got the feeling she was going to be belligerent, ask an administrator to be present during the meeting. Don't hesitate to ask for help. That's a big part of an administrator's job.

Have the right attitude. Go into the meeting with a pleasant, positive approach. I've found that it always helps to start the meeting by saying something nice about the student. No matter how bad he might be, you should be able to find something nice to say. Perhaps he's always well dressed, maybe he has a great sense of humor, he's creative, he's helpful...anything at all that's positive. This will help win the parent over and to make them see that you genuinely care about his or her child.

Be asserive and lead the conversation. Be specific about the problems. Don't just say, "Johnny is lazy." Say something more along the lines of "Out of the last twenty homework assignments, Johnny turned in only two." Don't just say, "Jonyy doesn't pay attention in class." You can say that, but follow it up with, "Out of the past two weeks, I've had to wake Johnny up seven times during class."

Never use statements like "Johnny is dumb." Such statements might be true, but you'll have to be more diplomatic than that! Say something like, "I don't think Johnny has yet mastered the skills required to do Algebra. Perhaps he needs some remediation."

Offer a plan. Don't just say, "Johnny needs to work harder." Parents are not usually teachers. Help them to help the student at home by offering suggestions for effective study skills. If the problem is laziness, ask the parent to email you once a week to ask if Johnny has turned in all assignments for that week. Also, tell the parents about upcoming assignments and tests so that they can stay abreast of what's expected.

When parents and teachers work together, everyone benefits. It will make your job easier, and it will provide a much better chance for the student's success. And that, of course, will make the parents happy.


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    • profile image

      mrs.autumn 6 years ago

      hi im wondering what to do when you pee your pants in class. i did today and my class laughed! what should i do?

    • profile image

      sana 6 years ago

      thank u s much

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Zev! I've actually thought about that!

    • Zev Schonberg profile image

      Zev Schonberg 7 years ago

      If only there were more teachers like you. Besides writing hubs,perhaps start a training program for new teachers.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Kudos to you for being an involved parent! You'll never regret it. Thanks for reading!

    • christalluna1124 profile image

      christalluna1124 8 years ago from Dallas Texas


      Great article. I am always nervous about going to parent teacher conferences. One thing I do before hand is review my childs work for the six weeks, his grades and behavior. I also talk to her almost daily when I pick him up. He is 8 and has ADHD and Bipolar disorder so it was a little rough for awhile, but I still get a few butterflies when its time to go the conference.



    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reading, Waren!

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 8 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      I'm sure all new teachers will be pleased with this sound advice habee!

      LOL..reading this, I got that old school feeling,the fear and wonder of the Parent-Teacher Conference,when I was a kid seeing all the those other trouble making kids,worrying and waiting for the Moms and Dads to come back with a verdict..LOL

      Thanks for sharing habee!