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March 27, 2018

Preparing for Parent Teacher Conferences

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher
Do you get nervous when conferences are coming up? We have our second set of conferences coming up on Friday. While a bit of nervousness is normal, there are ways to lessen the anxiety that conferences produce. If I am more prepared for conferences, I am definitely much calmer! 

Conference Prep

1. Print out report cards and copies of any test results that I will be sharing with parents.

2. I like to fill out conference notes with information on each student. I did make a free printable of these notes along with other conference forms. Click the pic below for your free download.
Parent/Teacher Conference Packet
3. Gather student work together and place in a 'folder' (folder sheet of construction paper) to give to parents. Side note: I do not have my students clean their desks before conferences. I want parents to see how the real deal!

4. Clear off my table that we will be using and place any needed materials. I like to keep paper and a pen handy for questions/comments that I need to write down that need follow-up. I also keep a copy of my schedule to keep myself focused.

5. In the hallway, I like to set up a couple of chairs, a desk with sign-in information, a copy of the schedule, and some reading material for parents. This may include classroom books or helpful hints for how they can work with their child at home.

Having everything laid out definitely gives me confidence in my ability to hold the conference. It also helps to have a set formula of things you want to mention in each conference. 

Basic Conference Outline

1. Positive comment - I thank the parents for coming and state something positive about their child.

2. Go through student work/testing data with the parents. I like to do this better than jest showing them the report cards. I can specifically speak to areas of strength and weaknesses of the child.

3. After explaining the child's abilities, I then share the report card. I honestly don't like to dwell on grades, but I know that some parents feel comfortable seeing them.

4. Share strategies that parents can utilize at home. This might include websites to visit, books to read, or questions that they can ask their child to help develop critical thinking skills.

5. Make sure to ask the parents if they have questions/comments. I also love to ask if they are seeing any of the same things I see in the classroom. 

6. End the conference on a positive note. Thank the parents for taking the time to meet with you. This definitely helps build that rapport!

Overall, I think the main thing to keep in mind is that the parents really want the best for their child. If you remember this, you will have some great conferences!

How do you prepare for conferences?

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