Posted June 12, 2012on:
This time of the year often brings with it formal end-of-the-year teacher conferences. This can be exciting as well as stressful.
- Typically exciting for new parents with very young children or families that have not had any issues throughout the school year.
- Typically stressful for families whose children have struggled throughout the school year and / or there has not been a supportive connection built between the school and home.
Either way, formal teacher-parent conferences are a fact of life in most childcare and school settings.
Here are some ways to make conferences a positive experience:
- Go to the conference at the time you were given or that you signed up for. Creating scheduled time for each family in a classroom and throughout a childcare center or school is very tricky.
- Stay at your child’s conference for the allotted time. If you feel that you want or will need more time than you are scheduled for, call the teacher as soon as possible to reschedule for another day.
- Listen. The teacher spends many hours with your child in a setting that is far different from home. Expectations, responsibilities & activities in a group setting of 20 are not the same as in a family of 4. A teacher will see and will share sides of your child that you don’t have a chance to be part of.
- Ask questions. Come prepared with any questions you have regarding class closing plans, summer skill work or opportunities, recommendations for preparing your child for next year, available support needed… if the school follows state mandates, uses specific assessment tools or has a published curriculum or accreditation base, find out about it or ask where you can look for more information.
- Stay focused. Your teacher will talk about your child only. Do not comment on or ask for comments or information about any other child / children or families in the classroom. Confidentiality policies are critical.
- Say so. If you have a concern about your child’s learning, social skills, abilities in the classroom or center or school settings, say so. Your child’s teacher is your best resource.
- Find out. This is a good time to find out about volunteer efforts needed for the center or school, ways that you can get involved in your child’s education and any program projects coming up.
- Be pleasant! Teachers love their children and have entered teaching because they are caring and dedicated professionals. Your child has been surrounded by interesting lessons, exciting activities, knowledgeable school teams and focused individuals that strive each day to bring your child the best.
Children never come alone. Behind the home is the school, and the school the home.
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director