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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 10:07 am | Fair 54º


Rae Largura: Tips for a Successful Parent/Teacher Conference

Make the most of the meeting with preparation, appropriate questions and follow-through

It’s almost spring break, but first it’s time for parent/teacher conferences and report cards.

Parent/teacher conferences present an excellent opportunity to get in tune with your child. It’s extremely important to have good communication with the teachers, and it’s imperative for both parties to know and share the same goals for your child.

Teachers really do care about your child and want to see him or her prosper and enjoy school. It is a two-way street, though. You, the parent, must take an active role in your child’s education. Talking to your child’s teacher and attending the conferences are a great way to stay connected and help the teacher help your child.

Here are some quick tips on making the most of the parent/teacher meeting:

» Before the meeting, get prepared. Make a list of concerns, questions or information worth sharing. Ask your child if he or she has anything to share. If appropriate, have your child join you in the meeting. This can be appropriate at any grade level. Children feel secure knowing their parents know what’s going on with them at school. Whether children show it or not, they like it when their parents are in communication with the teachers.

» Be on time. The first reason is of respect for the teacher. They have busy lives, busy days at work, many students for which they are responsible and many parents with which to communicate. The second reason is that you want to get the most out of the meeting as possible. Conferences are usually on a 15-minute, possibly 30-minute, block of time, so be organized.

» During the session, don’t be shy. Ask the teacher questions such as: “What are my child’s best and worst subjects?” “Does my child get along well with others?” “What are my child’s strengths, and what can we do to make my child’s weaknesses stronger?” “How does he or she relate to the teacher?” “How does he or she help out around the classroom?” How does my child play with others on the playground?” Share the likes, dislikes and struggles your child may have. We can all agree that every child is different and may learn in different ways. Let’s do our part in helping a teacher do his or her job and ensuring your child to enjoyment and prosperity while there.

» This also a great time to address any issues that your child may have with the teacher. Let’s face it, not every child is going to like him or her. It is important to find out how your child feels about the teacher and vice versa. Your child will enjoy school and learn more if there is a mutual fondness between them. More than likely, the teacher will not address this, and often the child will not have the skills or feel secure about opening up about his or her true feelings. This position lands on the parent.

» If your child has a diagnosed learning disability, it is always the parent’s and student’s prerogative to meet with the principal, special-education director and teacher to evaluation or revise the child’s Individual Education Plan.

» Lastly, express appreciation for the teacher(s). Teachers are people, too. Notice and appreciate their teaching style, their classroom, their time spent with you and their commitment to your child.

» On your drive home, think about your home environment. Could poor grades be because of too much chaos? Too many extracurricular activities? Unlearned study habits? Are they getting enough sleep and eating well? Are they shutting down because feel they can’t meet your expectations (which may be too high)? Are they getting enough support and encouragement?

A parent/teacher conference should be a happy occurrence. We can all agree that education is extremely important. Use this forum, of many, to stay connected. A parent’s relationship with his or her child’s teachers has been proven to be a strong indicator of that student’s success.

Don’t wait for the phone call or note sent home to meet with the teacher. Schedule a status check meeting for no other reason than to stay connected. The relationship between school and parent will illustrate brightly through your child.

— Rae Largura is president of Leading Edge Tutors.

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