Parent teacher conferences always seem to sneak up on you, don't they? I have few tips for what I do before, during, and after conferences to stay organized and (hopefully) keep parents well informed.
Being prepared for parent teacher conferences is so important. Conferences are usually short and time flies once you sit down and start talking. Staying organized is so important so that your time with parents is productive. I try to be as prepared as I can be and keep a list of things that I do before, during, and after parent teacher conferences. I hope some of these tips can help you be prepared too!
- Send home a survey to parents so you know what parents would like to discuss. Having an idea ahead of time what parents would like to talk about will help you prepare and gather any information that you need to answer parent questions.
- Have students fill out a student reflection page to share with parents at the conference. This will give parents a chance to see things from their child's perspective and might be helpful in answering some of the questions that parents filled out on their own survey.
- Send home reminders for the date and time of the conference just in case parents are unaware of when their scheduled conference is. This also prevents emails and phone calls to double check dates and times.
- Create a folder (file folder or large envelope) to share with parents with examples of their child's work, report card and any other info. Having a folder ready with examples to share with parents comes in handy during a conference. You can use the survey that you sent home to pull work to show parents examples of things that they have questions about.
- Prep a sign for the door to let parents know if you are ready or if you are still with another parent. You don't want parents coming in while you are still in a conference!
- If your conferences are close together and you will have parents waiting while you finish up with other families, you can make a small parent station where they can write notes to their child or wishes for the classroom. If you have devices in your classroom, you can have parents leave a note and a funny selfie on their child's device. Your students will LOVE coming in the next day to find a funny selfie of their parents!!
- Cover questions and concerns that parents wrote in their survey.
- Share student work and any reports necessary.
- You can also send parents home with their child's portfolio/folder of work and reports, including the student reflection. It is nice for parents to have something to take away from the conference, but it isn't necessary.
- Take quick notes about the conversation so that you do not forget. It's important to document important points of the conversation and it's easy to forget when meeting with so many parents in such a short time!
- Send home a thank you note to parents for attending.
Parent communication really is SO important! Communication is the key to building relationships that foster student success.
I hope this helps as you prepare to meet with parents during conferences…I know they are looooong days, but conferences are such a wonderful way to build relationships with parents that will help with their child's success throughout the year. Your hard work and long hours are so appreciated!
If you'd like to check out a complete parent communication pack for the entire year, click HERE. There are newsletters, brochures, reminder notes, and more included…and they are editable, so you can create them to fit your classroom needs!