The next parent–teacher conference is just around the corner. Once again, parents and teachers will sit across from each other in tiny chairs and discuss a child’s academic progress. Although parent–teacher conferences sometimes become stressful and anxiety-inducing for both parents and teachers, they are one of the most effective and important home–school communication mechanisms to discuss a child’s growth and progress. Thus, it is important for parents to actively participate in such conferences or short meetings.
Why attend parent-teacher conferences?
If you are a parent, you should make it a point not to miss any parent-teacher conference at your child or children’s school. How will you know if they’re doing well at school if you fail or refuse to attend such a meeting? How will you know the status of your child’s overall academic performance?
Refusing to attend parent-teacher conferences is like giving up your role as a fellow educator in your child or children’s learning process. As teachers are obliged to report to parents on their children’s progress, parents should as well feel obliged to attend the conferences to meet the teachers, the very people who teach their children all day at school. Parents should return the favor and meet with the teachers who take the trouble to mentor their children and monitor their progress.
Why should – or should – parents take the time and effort to meet with their fellow educators – the teachers of their children? By meeting the teachers, parents may check not only their children’s academic progress but also their behavior in school or classroom.
Since their children spend most of the day at school, parents are interested to know how they’re doing and that they would like to learn from the teachers, who in turn, could provide an appropriate report or assessment. Teachers inform parents what their children do or experience at school, where they excel or need to improve, and what they, teacher and parent, could do to help the children excel in and out of school.
Parent-teacher conferences are also occasions where teachers can share to parents any information the latter do not know about their own children, and also to encourage each other in their roles as educators – and even empower each other as parents. Both parent and teacher can share advice and suggestion that will assist them in their respective roles.
Three tips for meaning parent-teacher meetings
How can parents make the most out of parent-teacher conferences?
1.) Communicate effectively. As teachers make sure the conference is a two-way conversation, parents should participate and share their input. They should not remain silent throughout the whole conference. This is a chance for parents to invest in their children’s classroom learning and reaffirm their role as educator.
2.) Discuss openly. As teachers may get frank and straightforward with the parents, especially those whose children happen to struggle academically or behaviorally, parents should not keep quiet. Instead, they should open up and at the same time, offer provide essential advice or strategies that will help teachers deal with their children in the classroom.
3.) Cooperate unceasingly. By attending parent-teacher conferences, you already offer to cooperate with the teachers’ efforts in teaching your children, but this is only half the battle won. Play your part by working with teachers and other parents to boost parent-teacher and community-school partnerships, create meaningful mentoring or after-school programs, etc.
Parent-teacher conferences should remind parents on their shared responsibility of their children’s classroom learning and behavior. By attending, you actively promote your children’s education and their teachers’ role. Parents should never think their role in conferences as just to listen and passively receive information.