By Renee Koenig, Kewaunee County UW-Extension Family Living Educator
At this point in the school year, many parents and teachers are preparing to meet and discuss the successes and opportunities that children are experiencing. Whether you are about to experience your first parent-teacher conference or feel like you are a professional at them, it’s good to refresh yourself to a few tips for making this time with your child’s teacher successful.
Talk to your child. Before attending the conference, ask your child for input. Ask about any issues they are having, their likes, their dislikes, etc. Also let your child know that you are their advocate.
Make a list of questions. List topics or questions you would like to discuss about your child’s behavior, academics, etc. How does my child get along with classmates? Is my child working up to his/her ability? Where could he/she improve?
Give personal insight. Tell the teacher(s) if your child has medical issues, problems with bullying and any emotional concerns or changes at home such as divorce or death.
Be open-minded. Don’t get angry or defensive if the teachers says something sensitive about your child. Rather, ask questions and ask for examples.
Work with the teachers. Ask the teacher for suggestions about what you can do at home to support what is being done at school. Be sure to follow through on any ideas you got at the conference. Don’t be afraid to schedule more time with your child’s teacher at a later date if all of your questions or issues are not addressed.
Keep in touch. Become involved. Research shows that children do better in school when parents talk often with teachers and become involved in the school. (http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/parents_and_teachers_are_on_the_same_page_when_it_comes_to_school)
Become involved in school activities and events. Join the PTA, PTO or Booster Club. Volunteer at the school and find other ways to make an effort to support the education of your child.
By working together, you and your child’s teachers can help provide a good education and a happy school experience for your child.