A parent-teacher conference, also known as a parent-teacher meeting or parent-teacher interview, is an opportunity for parents to meet, and interact with their child’s teacher to discuss their academic progress and overall well-being at school, outside of the daily pickups, and schedules. These meetings can be scheduled at any time during the school year, but are often held at the midpoint or near the end of the examinations. The objective behind these meetings apart from being a formal platform to review your child’s progress is to also air concerns/views about your child’s development, or issues of concern to your child which are not being addressed.
Here’s a handy guide to consider to prepare for your meetings:
What to expect?
Since the agenda is to discuss a child’s progress in all aspects of their school life, prepare to hear a lot of feedback. Most schools provide fairly detailed feedback on a regular basis through tests, report cards, school diary, often using apps, and other digital tools. However, this meeting is more structured and aimed at covering everything from academic progress, social behaviour, any concerns the teacher might have about the child’s behaviours which might stem from home among others.
Details about school events and activities:
Sharing information about school events and activities is an important objective of parent-teacher meetings. It allows parents to stay informed about what is happening at the school and to have a better understanding of the school’s culture and community. By sharing this information, teachers can also help to encourage parent involvement in the school. During the meeting, teachers can provide information about upcoming field trips, sports games, or school-wide events. Parents can ask questions and provide feedback about the events and activities, and can also offer suggestions for how to get involved. Sharing information about school events and activities during parent-teacher meetings can also help to foster a sense of community among parents and teachers. It can create a sense of shared responsibility for the school and can help to build a positive relationship between parents and teachers.
During the conference, the teacher will typically present the child’s progress report or report card, which includes grades and comments on the child’s academic performance, attendance, and behaviour. The teacher may also provide suggestions for ways that parents can support their child’s learning at home, such as by encouraging daily reading or helping with homework.
Exchange of information:
In addition to discussing the child’s academic progress, the conference is also an opportunity for the teacher to share information about the classroom environment, the curriculum, and the school’s policies and procedures. The teacher may also discuss any special programs or resources that are available to support the child’s learning, such as tutoring or enrichment activities. It is important for both the teacher and the parents to approach the meeting with an open mind and a willingness to listen and collaborate. The goal of the parents-teachers meeting is to identify any areas of concern and to develop a plan for addressing them in order to support the child’s academic and personal growth.
Opportunity to address the concern:
It is important for parents to come prepared for the conference with any questions or concerns they may have. This may include asking about the child’s grades, homework assignments, and participation in class. Parents may also want to ask about the teacher’s expectations for the child and any strategies or resources that are available to help the child improve in areas of weakness. It is also an opportunity for parents to discuss any non-academic concerns or issues that may be affecting their child’s well-being at school. This may include social issues, such as bullying or friendships, or any physical or emotional challenges the child may be facing.
Overall, a parent-teacher conference is a valuable opportunity for parents to learn more about their child’s academic progress and to work with the teacher to ensure the child’s success at school. It is an important part of the connection between the home and the school and can help to strengthen the relationship between the two and support the child’s learning and development. By working with a teacher collaboratively, parents and the teacher might be able to formulate strategies to improve overall academic performance, specific concern areas or subjects, or behavioural goals. In turn the teacher might be able to support monitoring the development of skills that parents want to focus on such as mingling with classmates, classroom participation, developing an interest in extracurricular events, and so on.