It’s fall and that means that parent conferences are just around the corner. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could go into each student’s parent conference feeling prepared and confident?
Well, you can with the right steps. That means some obvious steps and some not so obvious steps - preparing in advance, creating a structure for your conferences, taking time to rehearse a bit and understanding parents' expectations.
Prep your meeting area with your conference materials for each student, paper, pencils or pens, a timer, etc.
Have a simple activity ready in case parents bring kids with them.
Remember, parents are often both excited and nervous about coming in for conferences. These kids are their babies, and mama and papa bear are quick to protect. For extra confidence: Write out a script or note cards and practice ahead of time (do a dry run) for any conferences you are particularly nervous about. This ensures you cover what needs to be said, builds trust with parents and ensures you listen more than you talk.
PRO TIP: Keep a To Do list handy during all your conferences. Add items you tell parents you will do, send, follow-up on, etc. so you'll remember. The next day, you can either do items or add them to your calendar with a deadline. (Yes, I'm a stickler for micro steps to help you stay organized and get stuff done.)
Is my child doing well? How does my child compare to others? Do you like my child? Does my child have friends? Are they happy? How is my child's behavior? Am I doing a good job? How can I help my child be successful? Are you trustworthy? Do you know what you are doing?
Think of it this way... Your students' parents have entrusted you with their children. Priceless. (Think... worth more than their bank accounts.) Would they trust you with their ATM card and their pin number? Probably not. And yet, they have allowed you access to their babies.
So, take the time to build trust and reassure parents. That foundation will open your hearts to each other and help your conferences and the year go more smoothly for all of you.
Want more help? Check out my Parent-Teacher Meeting Packet here.