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Talking to Your Child About Parent Teacher Conferences

Earlier this week, we shared a blog post called “Making the Most of Parent Teacher Conferences”. Today, we’ll explore how conversations with your child before and after your parent teacher conference will help engage your son or daughter in the process.

Before the Parent Teacher Conference
One of the most important ways you can prepare for a parent teacher conference is to talk with your child.

Start by reassuring your child that you and the teacher will be meeting because you both want him or her to enjoy learning and to succeed in school.

Engage your son or daughter in the conversation before you meet with the teacher by asking open-ended questions and listening carefully to the answers.

Some examples of open-ended questions include:

What’s your favorite subject this year? (why?)
What’s your least favorite? (and why?)
What do you think of your teacher?
Do you spend time with other teachers, too, for classes like PE, speech, art, or music?
Tell me about the kids in your class.
What’s lunchtime like at school?
Who do you like to play with at recess? What kinds of games do you play together?

Talking About Grades
Ask your child about recent homework assignments, projects, assignments and test scores. Has he or she finished any units recently? Was there an end-of-unit project or exam? How did he or she do? Did he or she feel prepared for the test or quiz?

Especially for older students, it can also be helpful to talk about the school’s grading scales, and whether there are grading curves on assignments or tests. Talk about upcoming standardized tests, advanced placement exams, the ACT or the SAT. Does your child feel prepared for those tests? Find out if there’s anything you can talk with his or her teachers about to help him or her feel confident about those tests.

Talk to Your Son or Daughter After
Once you’ve met with your son or daughter’s teacher(s), talk with your child again. Share any good news first, and then talk about any concerns your child’s teacher had. If you discussed improvement plans (informal or formal) with the teacher, share those with your child as well.

You, your child, and his or her teacher(s) each play an important role in your child’s success in and enjoyment of school. Bringing your child into the conversation both before and after parent teacher conferences will keep him or her engaged in his or her education.

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