Now that my kids are in high school and middle school, the Parent/Teacher conferences are much different than in elementary school when we met with one teacher for about fifteen or twenty minutes. That time period felt short, especially when the conferences were running late. The elementary school conferences focused on assessments the teacher gave as opposed to standardized testing, and how my child was doing. Next steps included ideas for books to read or additional ways to practice writing or math facts.
Some of my son’s amazing teachers in elementary school on the last day of school!
Middle School Parent/Teacher conferences at my school are even shorter and we choose a combination of just two teachers: Math/History OR English/Science. The information was usually around completion of work, attitude in school, and quiz grades. Sometimes these conferences feel like confirming that the teachers know exactly who your child is.
Our High School Parent/Teacher conferences are like a kind of sprint: 6 minutes per teacher and I think we can only meet with two. If the rooms are far apart — our high school has four floors — it is literally a sprint. This brief time period seems to focus on how my child is doing in that class from grades to attitude. It’s amazing but I found in high school that these teachers really have a good grasp of who my child is from early on.
Given that there’s limited access to teachers (assuming that you don’t request or require more), my strategy is to:
- Meet with teachers my child seems to complain about the most.
- Meet with teachers that my child seems to have the hardest time academically.
- Ask the teacher if they need things donated to their classroom. You’d be amazed how many teachers need basic items like hand sanitizer, and paper towels.
- Convey positive feedback from my child about that teacher.
- Thank them for their time. Parent/Teacher conferences make a long school day even longer for teacher!
Today my guest author is Rocketship Education — a nonprofit network of public charter schools in the Bay Area, Nashville, Milwaukee, Tennessee and Washington, DC on Parent & Teacher Conferences. Since they are coming up in a few weeks, I hope this is helpful!
How about you? Please share your tips for getting the most out of Parent/Teacher conferences. Thanks!
My son’s 5th grade Parent/Teacher Conference focused on self assessment that he did of his own work and how he thinks he’s doing.