Hawthorn has been preparing its new teachers to make the parent teacher conference experience as seamless as possible. Recently parents and seasoned teachers highlighted what teachers should expect during the 15-minute meetings and how to make sure it is a positive experience for both parents and new staff.
Here are Tips & Tactics suggested by parents and seasoned teachers for Hawthorn’s 38 new staff members:
- Be prepared for the Meeting. Parents and teachers only have 15 minutes to discuss a child’s progress.
- Create a Happy Sandwich – Start and end the conversation with positive information about their child.
- Stay positive throughout the meeting.
- Keep conversations “student-centered” and “learning-centered.”
- Parents want to know if there is a problem with their child whether it is social, emotional or academic. Be honest.
- Parent teacher conferences should not be the first time parents hear of a problem or concern with their child.
- Parents don’t want teachers to go over everything in a child’s portfolio; give them the highlights and send parents home with their child’s homework and projects.
- Make sure the classroom teacher and the child’s specials teachers – math, speech, etc. – are sending the same messages to parents.
- Give parents time to ask questions.
- If you realize you are running out of time, reschedule the conversation for a later time.
- If parents get off topic refer them or their child to experts who can help them with matters that are not classroom/school related.
- Provide resources or takeaways that parents can take away with them regarding concerns you raised.