by Dr. John J. Franey, CEO/Founder of Developing Difference Makers
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Two parents slowly enter the classroom to meet with their child’s teacher, anxious at what they might hear in this parent teacher conference. Even though their son tells them every day how great school is going and how well he is behaving and doing with his studies, the parents fear that they might not be getting the whole story from him. So they are nervous to meet with the teacher, fearing the worst – hearing their child is having major issues in class. It is that time of the year, where the annual parent teacher conference dance and the conferences will roll on, one after another, year after year, every 15 minutes until every parent has been met with and each child’s academic progress and in-class behavior is shared.
Parent teacher conferences can be an amazing way to connect a child’s home and school life. They can be a great opportunity for teachers to open up the lines of communication to every parent and to share concerns that might be causing delays in progress. They can be a positive method of helping parents to understand what they can do at home to help their child continue to excel. But if these conferences can be such a powerful link to make a difference in a child’s life, why then are so many parents and teachers nervous about them? The key reason is that previous experiences in other conferences prepare both sides for the worst. However, if teachers take a positive approach to these conferences, they can begin to turn the tide towards parents seeing these conferences in a positive light! With parent teacher conference time approaching in schools across the nation, this blog offers six tips for making a difference with these conferences.
While none of these strategies are foolproof in that there will always be difficult conferences, these strategies enable can positively impact any parent teacher conference. As parents attend more and more conferences using these strategies, they will enter into the conferences with less anxiety and defensiveness and will be ready to learn more about how the teacher and the parents can partner together to make a difference in the child’s life!