Parent teacher conferences play a vital role in tracking a student’s academic success. We all live busy lives, and at times may think they’re an inconvenience, but parents should strive to make the most of these meetings. The insights gained relating to a child’s academic progress are invaluable. Outlined below are three tips to help guide you when meeting with your child’s teachers.
1) Be proactive and ask questions. It sounds simple enough, but after a long day of work it’s easy to check out during parent teacher conferences. In order to understand the big picture, parents must thoroughly engage teachers and ask the right questions.
- “Is my child on track to get ahead or are they falling behind?”
- “What are his or her behavioral patterns in school that may be helping or hurting academic performance?”
- “Are there certain areas in which my child is excelling, or others where he or she needs some extra help?”
- You may even ask bluntly, “What exactly does my child need to do to raise his or her grade in math from a C to an A?”
2) Listen intently. Asking the right questions won’t do you any good if you’re not prepared for the right answers, even if the truth is hard to swallow. If your child is struggling with a certain subject, listen carefully to understand exactly what the issues are, how he or she can improve, and the ways in which you can help.
3) Make a game plan. Developing a plan with a teacher is most impactful when a student is on board. It may be difficult for your child at the beginning, but encouraging him or her to be proactive on their own is the first step toward improvement. Good grades are not handed out, they are earned. It is the responsibility of both parents and students to use the information learned during parent teacher conferences to make an academic plan that outlines the specific steps to improvement.
As a parent, your main goal during parent teacher conferences should be to understand if your child is struggling, maintaining good grades, or exceeding academically. What you and your child make of that information will determine your next steps and, ultimately, his or her success in the classroom.
It’s been said many times, no one person is an island. A student alone cannot be expected to exceed academically without the encouragement of his or her parents and teachers. Those who do excel usually do so in proportion to the strength of their support network. Therefore, parents, students, and teachers all need to work as a team to make a difference in academic performance.