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How to Ace a Parent-Teacher Conference

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Educator and Mother of three gives us Cliffs Notes on how to make the grade.

Most parents hate it. Teachers dread it. Why are parent/teacher conferences so uncomfortable? Teachers complain that parents are unprepared and talk about nothing. Parents complain they feel rushed. Lucille Kurtz, a Mother of three and teacher for more than 25 years, has some tips for us. She knows what it's like to be on both sides of the desk.

1. Do your homework. Come prepared with questions and concerns, and be specific. General questions will get you general answers. Also, try and ask about your child's curriculum if you're not clear. It helps to know what is expected of them.

2. Be courteous. Most parent-teacher conferences are by appointment, and other parents are scheduled before and after you. Stick to your time, and if for some reason you think you may need more, schedule it in advance.

3. Keep an open mind.
As a parent, it's easy to become defensive when someone, anyone, criticizes your child. Remember, the teacher is there to help, so hear them out. Ask for suggestions that will help rectify whatever the situation, whether it pertains to academics or behavior.

4. Don't wait for a parent-teacher conference. If you have concerns about your child, contact the teacher immediately and set up a time to meet. Most issues are better addressed right away. And remember, contact the teacher first, don't go straight to the principal. Then, if you're unsatisfied with the results, include the principal.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kara December 7, 2007, 1:57 PM

Both my parents have been teachers for over 30 years. They’re always saying how they wish that parents would take a more active role in their kids’ lives, with regard to the classroom. And, how so many parents send their kids off to school assuming that whatever happens there is solely the school’s responsibility. Be aware of what your kids are doing on a daily basis! Good advice, Lucille!

misty December 7, 2007, 3:59 PM

I home school my children and i talk to their tourtor about 2 times a week. I tell her my thoughts where i think the kids should be at and give her a list of my thoughts and fears. about the children. I found out if you are honesty with them they can help you out and if you are not honest they cant help your children. What is great that their tourtor is a school teacher who is non judgemental and they knew her form day one.

tabletki na pryszcze April 3, 2011, 7:15 AM

It’s good too read your site again dude, i see some interesting updates here…