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Tips for a Great Parent Teacher Conference

Updated on May 7, 2020

The Ideal Conference

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Parent Teacher Conferences – Be Prepared


©LaDena Campbell 2012 aka justateacher

Twice a year in our district, teachers and parents meet to discuss the progress of students. Usually one happens near the beginning of school, and the second one happens close to the end of the year. Each school gets to decide which two times to have them, but all schools must have two times during the year. Conferences aren’t always easy, so it is best to be prepared.


For The Teacher

As a teacher, you need to keep these things in mind:

The little monster that lies all day and hits all of his classmates is someone’s little angel that can do no wrong. That sweet, shy little princess that never talks in class is someone’s little chatterbox that can’t stop talking at home. And both of them have moms and dads that know their child better than you ever will. And they are never wrong about their child.

And then remember these tips:

  • 1. Start with all of the positives. If there is only one positive…start with that. If the little monster that lies all day and hits his classmates has the neatest handwriting in the class – mention that. If he just has a nice smile, go with that.
  • 2. Be honest. If that little monster doesn’t have a nice smile…don’t mention it…his mom knows if he has a nice smile.
  • 3. Be gentle with the negatives…but still be honest. Don’t sugarcoat the truth about the negatives. If the child is a bully, you could say, “Your son doesn’t get along well with the other children. He doesn’t show respect to his classmates.” And then “To be honest, he is a bully.”
  • 4. Be nice to the parents. They can be your biggest ally. Or your biggest foe. If you can’t respect the little monster’s parents how can you expect him to respect you?
  • 5. Listen to the parents. They won’t listen to you if you try to monopolize the conversation.
  • 6. Don’t get defensive. If the parents of the little monster tell you that you are the worst teacher in the world, remember – they think that their child is a little angel.
  • 7. Provide samples of the child’s work. If you are saying that the little monster has the best handwriting in the class, bring samples to back up your claims. You might have samples of another child’s work (with name omitted) to compare his work to. If you do this, make sure the other student’s handwriting is not better than the little monsters.
  • 8. End the conference on time. Remember…the little princess needs all of her allowed time, too.

For The Parents

As a parent, you need to keep these things in mind:

Your little angel may be the teacher’s little monster. At home he is the sweetest, kindest young man that is always polite to his brothers and sisters and you. But at school he might not be so nice. The teacher knows if your little man is behaving or not, listen to him or her. And maybe your little chatterbox really is quiet at school.

And then remember these tips:

  • 1. Listen to all of the positives. If there is only one positive…remember that. If the teacher says that your lovebug has the neatest handwriting in the class – remember that. If she just says he has a nice smile, worry.
  • 2. Be honest. Let the teacher know that you understand what he or she means when he or she says that your child has a nice smile.
  • 3. Accept the negatives. If the teacher says that your child is a bully, find out why he is a bully. Who is making your child so mean?
  • 4. Be nice to the teacher. They can be your biggest ally. Or your biggest foe. If you can’t respect the teacher how can you expect your little angel to respect the teacher?
  • 5. Listen to the teacher. He or she won’t listen to you if you try to monopolize the conversation.
  • 6. Don’t get defensive. If the teacher tells you that you are the worst parent in the world, remember – they think that your child is a little monster.
  • 7. Ask for samples of the child’s work. If the teacher is saying that the your child has the best handwriting in the class, expect samples to back up your claims. Ask to see samples of another child’s work (with name omitted) to compare his work to. If you do this, make sure the other student’s handwriting is not better than your child’s.
  • 8. End the conference on time. Remember…the little princess needs all of her allowed time, too.

For Teachers And Parents

While this was written tongue in cheek, remember that most of these tips will work for a parent teacher conference.

As a teacher, start the conference with positive information, be honest but not mean, be nice to the parents – they can help you the most when you need it, don’t get defensive – the parents are probably doing what they think is best for their child, share samples of the child’s work and end the conference on time.

As a parent, listen carefully to the teacher, be honest about how your child really is, be nice to the teacher – this person has your child in their lives as much as you do, don’t get defensive – the teacher is probably doing what he or she thinks is best for your child, ask for samples of your child’s work and end the conference on time.

If you follow these simple tips, your conference should go well!

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    • Michael Salas profile image

      Michael Salas 

      9 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I definitely agree with you. We often forget about the positives when it comes to children. It is easy to do. I worked in a group home for several year,s, and had this pointed out to me. When I realized that I was not doing this, it hurt a bit, but the results were tremendous. When people display negative behavior it is so easy to focus on that. However everyone does something positive. Thanks for this.

    • justateacher profile imageAUTHOR

      LaDena Campbell 

      9 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      freemaarketingnow - I work with elementary students - some of our teachers do allow the students to run the conferences and it works well for them, too - I work with special education students and it is sometimes difficult for them to explain things well...I do like your suggestions though! Thank you for your input!

    • freemarketingnow profile image

      freemarketingnow 

      9 years ago from California

      The template feels fine, but it seems very teacher driven. At our school, we let the students run a lot of the conference. They present their work. They explain the learnings of the quarter. This works because I work at a high school and our students our adept at running these conferences, but I'm guessing you work with a younger grade (?).

    • justateacher profile imageAUTHOR

      LaDena Campbell 

      9 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      sandra and bianca- thanks for your kind comments!

    • biancaalice profile image

      biancaalice 

      9 years ago from Southern California

      I'll definitely keep this in mind when I go to my son's first conference at school. Thanks.

      Voted up & Interesting.

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 

      9 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      What a great hub. You have covered all the bases for both parents and teachers. Thanks. Sandra Busby

    • justateacher profile imageAUTHOR

      LaDena Campbell 

      9 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Brett - thanks for your comments! At our school, parents are always invited to come into the classroom to observe. The parents that have come in get to see their "angels" and see how they really act at school! Usually, though, when a parent is in the room, students are on their best behavior.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      9 years ago from Asia

      Some great (and funny) tips. It is a tricky situation. Where I was working a couple of years back, parents could just pop into, or actually sit in on lessons at random. This could be an interesting experience, as it was amazing how the kids that knew that parent would change!! ha ha

      Socially sharing, up and useful.

    • justateacher profile imageAUTHOR

      LaDena Campbell 

      9 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Thank you Frank - I wrote this as we were doing our parent teacher conferences! thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      9 years ago from Shelton

      Justateacher you have all the corners covered great tips :) today I bless you again :) Frank

    • justateacher profile imageAUTHOR

      LaDena Campbell 

      9 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Steve - I have had many things happen while teaching, but never anything like THAT happen!! And you're right - never a dull moment!

    • Steve LePoidevin profile image

      Steve LePoidevin 

      9 years ago from Thailand

      Very informative hub. Now that I am teaching in China, parent-teacher conferences are few and far between because of the language barrier. I still remember the meetings years ago where a parent was a father the first term and a mother the last term! Yes, in between he had a you-know-what. Never a dull moment in teaching!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      9 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I love how you covered tips for both parents and teachers. It can't be all from one side or the other. Very well written.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      Great advice and so helpful in making sure the parent and teacher work together to help make a better learning experience for a child. I especially like your advice to parents on asking for examples. This is visual help in getting to the exact issue and will help a parent see the concern. Voted up!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      9 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eighteen years of conference and I can honestly say I don't miss them one darn bit. Great hub, had me laughing and breaking out in a cold sweat all at the same time. :)

    • justateacher profile imageAUTHOR

      LaDena Campbell 

      9 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Krystal - thanks for the kind comments. These tips came from some observations I made at our school conferences tonight!

    • KrystalD profile image

      Krystal 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      Excellent tips. You covered some awesome points. I think having an agenda and making it clear the order of the conference helps it run smoothly. Your points about being gentle are essential. As a teacher, I sometimes wonder what it must feel like to be on that other side. I have seen some parents really break down in fear or anger. Hearing things you perceive as negative about your child is obvisiously difficult. Great hub!

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