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Making the Most of Parent Teacher Conferences

How does my child get along with other children? Is my son getting better at following verbal instructions for in-class assignments? My daughter aces her spelling tests, then turns around and mis-spells the words the next day -- is that normal?  Parent teacher conferences are approaching and the questions are starting to percolate. The weeks leading up to parent teacher conferences make for very active minds and often sleepless nights, don’t they? And as our kids get older, the conferences feel more like speed dating than parent teacher conferences (we get 5 minutes per teacher at our junior high). For most parents, making parent teacher conferences as productive as possible is a big priority. On our site we have a wonderful print out of parent teacher conference questions. They are a huge help, but are they enough?

Lately, I have been wondering if the structure of the old fashioned parent teacher conference should be re-visited. How can parents walk away with a good sense of their child’s school experience and still be respectful of a teacher’s time? 

What would your ideal parent-teacher conference be like? Do you have constructive ideas of ways to change or improve the current system? I’d love to hear from both teachers and parents. Is your school doing anything different from when you were a student? Is anyone’s school tapping into technology to enhance ongoing communication, so you feel less desperate for your parent teacher conferences? Let’s hear your thoughts.


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#1 Livia McCoy 2010-11-02 00:43
I read a great book last summer by Sara Lawrence-Lightf oot called The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn From Each Other. It made me realize that both parents and teachers are nervous about these conferences. You are right--we can probably do things a little differently to make them better and easier for all involved.

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