Does anyone else get nervous before parent-teacher conferences? Is it just me? Walking into a parent-teacher conference feels a little bit like walking into the lion’s den. Here’s the thing…I’m the teacher. Yea…it’s hard on all of us.
I am the teacher, but I am also a parent. And I know the stress from both sides. I’ve put together a few helpful suggestions for parents to keep in mind when talking to their child’s teacher.
1. Always remember that you know your child better than the teacher. Teachers see a lot. Probably more than you may realize. That doesn’t mean that they know everything about your child, or always know what’s best for your child. While teachers are smart and can provide a lot of insight and knowledge, parents, you are smart also. You raised your kiddos for five years before sending them off to school. You know how they learn best and what can motivate them. You know when they are anxious and how to calm them. You can give the teacher the tools they may need to help your kiddo.
2. Go in with your questions. Write them down. No question is too silly. Do you want to know how to help your child with their math homework? Ask. Lost a password for IXL or Raz-Kids? Ask. Want to know if your child is on track? Ask. We want to help you. Also, writing your questions down means you won’t forget to ask them.
3. Bring your child. Kids are great for helping with the awkwardness. They usually have a lot of pride in their classrooms and like to show off what they have been doing there. Let them. They can show you what they’ve been working on and the teacher can help explain things further. If there is an uncomfortable silence, ask your kiddo to tell you something about the classroom, or ask to see where they sit.
4. Get to know the teacher. Ask the teacher questions about how the classroom is run. Do you want to know more about the curriculum or are you wondering about the daily schedule? Does the teacher run a classroom that is quiet and calm or is it a classroom of collaboration and chatter? It’s okay to talk about what you think works best for your child.
I think the most important thing to remember is that you are the expert on your child. Advocate for what you think is best. And remember, teachers love your kiddo too. We also want the best for them. Let’s work together.