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Parent Teacher Conferences

As both a parent and a teacher at CCS, I have a unique perspective on parent-teacher conferences. As a teacher I know how to prepare for conferences, however, as a parent is there anything that we should be doing prior to conferences to optimize their value? Absolutely! 

Like most parents, my husband and I excitedly await the report cards written for our children's first terms in a new school year. We want to know how our kids are doing, in academics and behaviour, as observed by their teachers during the past three months. With report cards in hand, we celebrate the academic successes achieved. We read the comments with interest, as these often show areas of necessary growth. With that in mind, we also look forward to parent-teacher conferences each fall. We try to make it a priority in already busy schedules. We know that those few minutes with our kids' teachers will give us a chance to briefly touch base. It's important for my husband and I to connects with the adults that have the task of teaching our kids valuable skills and lessons in life – areas that shape and define who they will become, one day, as functioning Christian adults in our ever-growing secular society. Conferences, without fail, always bring to light something of value. As we spend some time with teachers, discussing ways of working towards continued successes and also ways of addressing areas of concern for our children, we leave conferences feeling more enlightened. 

So, the question is, "Is there "home work” to be done, by us as parents, before parent-teacher conferences.... YES! :)

First of all, a bit of 'at-home preparation' is highly beneficial. Spend some time going over your child's report card with him or her. Ask for your child's input about the subjects and also about the comments that the teacher has written. What does your child really like about school? Is there anything that he or she would like the teacher to know? Write down key points about your conversation, as well as any of your own questions or observations. Bring these notes with you to the conference. 

Be on time for the conference. Other parents are likely scheduled after you, so there is very little flexibility in time frames. Also, if at all possible, try to have both parents at the meeting. Dad's perspective may allow for different input than mom's. This has been most valuable for my husband and me, as we often experience events quite differently. A broader perspective will allow for a better understanding of your child and her/her learning journey. 

During your conference try be honest about the events that are taking place in your family that may directly affect your child (for example, new baby, death, separation, or divorce). No one knows your child better than you, and sometimes sharing key situations or events will help your teachers to better understand and teach him/her. Teachers want what is best for each of their students. Work together as a team to best support your child. 

Bring the report card with you and ask for explanations of anything on it that you don't understand. This is also a good time to ask for ways that you can help your child at home in areas of academic or behavioural concerns. During the conference don't hesitate to write down some notes to help you recall key points of importance that were covered, that are to be implemented at home. 

When your time is over, it is time to wrap up your discussions. If you feel that not all of your concerns have been addressed, it may be best to ask for another meeting at another time, rather than take up someone else's time. Show your appreciation, through thanking the teacher at the end of the conference. 

Once at home, talk about the conference with your child. Share the positive points, and also be direct about areas of concern. If suggestions were made, remember to implement these as soon as possible. 

In the end, like parents, teachers want each of their students to shine brightly in their God-given gifts and abilities. As we lead, guide, parent, and teach may we all do what is honouring and pleasing to our Saviour and Lord. 

May you be blessed during your parent-teacher conferences.

Marjolein Eising – Gr. 2B
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