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What you should really discuss at a parent-teacher conference

    A parent-teacher conference provides an opportunity for you, as a mom or dad, to meet and talk with certain of your children’s teachers. This is especially important in secondary school because otherwise you won’t get to meet your child’s teachers. Unfortunately, some families don’t take advantage of this opportunity. I know teachers who don’t get to see the parents of some of their students once during their entire school career.

    Prepare for parent-teacher conferences

    This may have to do with the fact that parents of successful students tend not to go to parent-teacher conferences. But even if your son or daughter is happy with a “C” in a subject, you can make an appointment with the subject teacher to discuss how you can make them even more successful. Perhaps your child has become rather comfortable in the lower grade range in one or more subjects. In that case, I definitely recommend taking the opportunity to schedule a parent-teacher conference. These talks are short-tacked. That’s why it makes sense to think about what exactly you want to discuss in advance.

    Preparing for the parent-teacher conference: These are the topics you should address

    • Since you know in advance which teachers you will be talking to, talk to your child about any problems that have arisen in the past few weeks. This way, you are protected from surprises and can better prepare for possible problem areas.
    • Many students are uncomfortable being present during a conversation between their parents and teachers. Understand this and don’t force your child to attend. However, let them tell you why they don’t want to be there, because there may be serious problems with that, which you should then raise with the teacher.
    • During the interview, ask the teacher to tell you about his or her personal impression of your child. Sometimes you will find that the teachers’ opinions differ and in some cases you will not recognize your child at all. Therefore, feel free to share some family stories if they help to increase your understanding of your child’s needs.
    • Finding the balance between “teacher in the dock,” to “student in the dock,” to “parent in the dock” is not always easy. We adults have already found our place in life. So it’s important to help each student find their place as well. That’s why honest exchange, listening and even changing your own mind once in a while is important in the conversations.
    • Don’t try to blame everything on the teacher just because your child has a bad grade. Instead, let the subject teacher give you tips on what you can do together to rebuild any lack of motivation or gaps in knowledge.
    • Clarify any problems your child may have – such as disrupting class, not having papers with him or her, not doing homework – and agree on ways to avoid them in the future.
    • If there are major subject-related problems and gaps, ask for concrete assistance and measures to help your child catch up with the class level again.
    • Try to meet a different teacher of your child at each parent-teacher conference to get an idea of the person yourself. After all, your child spends much of his or her time at school and is subject to many influences there. You should know many of the people who teach and evaluate your daughter or son. After all, you are always helping to shape their future to some degree.

    Use the parent-teacher conference as an opportunity to talk to the teachers. In this way, you can get an idea of the people who have a significant influence on your child.