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Making the Most of Your Parent – Teacher Conference

Posted By Jessica Fisher On September 29, 2010 @ 1:40 am In Joyful Womanhood,Learning,Parenting and Family | 8 Comments

[4]Photo Source: conspirator [5]

While I grew up attending public school and my parents were both public school teachers, FishPapa and I have chosen a different route. So, I’m so thankful for my friend and LifeasMOM contributor, JessieLeigh, to provide helpful information for those of you who are anticipating Parent-Teacher conferences in the coming weeks.

:: A Post from LifeasMOM contributor, JessieLeigh [6] ::

If your child attends public school, chances are good that parent-teacher conferences are coming in the next month or so. Ideally, this conference should be one of many dialogues you have with your child’s teacher throughout the year. Open, frequent conversation is one of your best bets for helping your child have a successful year. It is also one of your greatest weapons against problems that might pop up- be they academic or social.

One thing that I believe passionately is this – just because I send my child off to public school each day, that doesn’t mean that I’m not involved. It doesn’t absolve me of my responsibility and role in the education of my child. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care or that I have no control.

I strive to build a strong partnership with my child’s teachers. I want to work as a team to reinforce important concepts and lessons. I want my child to have consistency and security throughout his day. One way I accomplish this?

I make the most out of my parent-teacher conference.

I believe that the best conferences are more than just parents sitting there, waiting for a report on how their child is doing. I believe if you take a few moments to prepare for the conference, you (and your child’s teacher) will get more out of it.

Here are a few quick ways YOU can prepare before heading in to your conference in order to get the most out of the experience:

Leave your defensive side at home.

Most of us are quick to leap to the defense of our child. It is one thing for me to think my son is easily-distracted and lacks focus… it is quite another for someone else to mention it. Realize that the teacher wants your child to get a good education- just like you do. Instead of being defensive, try to either simply listen or, even better, offer up strategies you have found worked at home.

[7]Photo source: emples [8]

Consider strengths and weaknesses.

Ask yourself these two simple questions before you head in:

  • What are my child’s greatest strengths?
  • In what areas do I see my child struggle?

With these things fresh in your mind, it is easier to speak up when the teacher, inevitably, asks you, “Did you have any questions or concerns?

Realize that your child “at home” may be strikingly different from your child “at school”.

For better or worse, this is often the case. Working together, you and your child’s teacher can often brainstorm some tactics to help see more of the desired behaviors in both places. It can be surprising to learn that your effervescent, cheerful kiddo is quiet and shy at school. Keeping an open dialogue going with the teacher is your best way to help determine why that might be…

Do not limit your questions/worries to academic issues.

Your child spends many hours a day at school. Peer relations and social situations can have a dramatic impact on her happiness and success. If you think she’s being bullied, speak up. If you’re worried about the language or media she’s being exposed to, make the teacher aware. These concerns are every bit as legitimate as worries about a low math score.

Take notes

Before I head off to conferences with my children’s teachers, I take a minute to jot down any thoughts or questions I’ve had. I do the same thing before appointments with the pediatrician. [9] I find that if I just try to “keep them in my head”, I always forget once I’m in front of the teacher. We’ll be heading in to conferences for our two children the beginning of November. I’m already thinking about things I want to bring up!

How do YOU prepare your parent-teacher conferences?

Do you have any tips to help make the most of it? What has been helpful in your experience? See ya in the comments!

– JessieLeigh is the mother of a former 24-week micropreemie [10]and two full-term blessings as well. She is a determined advocate for the tiniest of babies, including the unborn, and a firm believer in faith and miracles.  She shares about raising such a precious, tiny baby over at Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles. [6] She is also a regular contributor to LifeasMOM [11].

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[9] I do the same thing before appointments with the pediatrician.: http://parentingthetiniestofmiracles.blogspot.com/2009/01/questions-for-pediatrician.html

[10] 24-week micropreemie : http://parentingthetiniestofmiracles.blogspot.com/2008/08/birth-story.html

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