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Getting the most out of your parent-teacher conferences

2013 October 3
by HISD Communications

It’s officially fall, and along with the changing leaves and the cooling temperatures, parents and family members can expect to start receiving invitations to attend parent-teacher conferences. The first meeting with your child’s teacher can lay the foundation for you to build a great working relationship for the entire school year. Take advantage of this opportunity to discover what your child should accomplish this year and how you can help support their learning outside of the classroom. We have outlined a few tips for you below to go into a parent-teacher conference well-equipped to make the most of your time.

How does your child learn best? Brainstorm what your child loves to do and how they learn best — whether that’s visiting a science museum, helping cook breakfast, or playing soccer, your child’s teacher would like to know. Do they want to be an architect when they grow up, or have a fear of speaking in front of the class? Let the teacher know that, too. Information about your child’s strengths, weaknesses, fears, and desires can help his or her teacher design interesting lesson plans and look for resources and materials that will help your child learn.

Ask your child what s/he needs to succeed.  Don’t leave your child out of this process. Ask them directly what they are excited to learn about this year, what fears they may have, and what they think their teacher should know about them.

Write down your questions. Have some questions prepared for your teacher. You could start with:

  • How does my child’s work compare to your expectations for grade-level reading, writing, and math?
  • If my child’s work is either below or above grade level, what strategies are you using to address his or her level? What strategies should I use at home?
  • May I see examples of my child’s schoolwork?
  • What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses in your class?
  • What strategies can I use at home to support my child’s school work?
  • What is the best way to communicate with you when I have questions or need help with my child’s schoolwork?

Follow up. Your involvement with your child’s teacher should go beyond your first parent-teacher conference—make a plan about how you will each support your child’s learning throughout the school year. Write out what you each commit to do, when you will do it, and how often. Set a date to check in with your child’s teacher again in a few months, and hold yourself accountable for following through.

For more about parent-teacher conferences, please see the HISD Time to Talk video here.

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