Every parent wants their child to do well in school, which is why it is so important to build a good relationship with your child’s teacher. One great way to do that is by participating in parent-teacher conferences.
Held typically at the end of October in Macomb County, parent-teacher conferences allow parents to meet one-on-one with their child’s teacher to touch base on what their students are working on and how parents can better support their child’s educational endeavors.
So, how can you best prepare for the conferences and what should you do in the moment to ensure they go smoothly? We spoke to Karen Haraga, reading/math intervention teacher Warren Woods Public Schools to get her top tips.
What to expect
During her parent-teacher conferences, Haraga will first start off with how the child is doing adjusting to the daily routines in her classroom.
From there, she dives into student participation and whether or not they are willing to participate in the classroom or if they need extra motivation.
“There are times when students do not want to take part in all we do, so I ask for suggestions of what parents do at home to encourage their child,” she says.
She also gives mom and dad a rundown of the child’s growth.
“(At) the beginning of the year we check letter and sound identification, name writing, counting, etc.,” Haraga explains. “The students in our district also take a computer test three times throughout the year (fall, winter, spring), so I share those results with parents.”
How to prepare
The first thing that Haraga suggests when prepping for your child’s upcoming parent-teacher conference is to think of questions you want to ask your child’s teacher.
Some of those questions can include how your child is doing socially or emotionally, how they are coping at the beginning of the day and being away from mom and dad, or what their academic strengths and weaknesses are.
It’s also a good chance to ask if you can tell the teacher some things about your child.
“This is always nice to hear because it helps the teacher get a view of the child outside the classroom,” Haraga adds.
Parents should avoid bringing their children to parent-teacher conferences when possible so that you can focus on the conversation at hand and should also stay focused on the child that the conferences is for.
“There are times when parents want to talk about their other child but it’s important to remember that each child is unique and grows and develops at their own pace,” Haraga explains. “If you are meeting your child’s kindergarten teacher, talk about your kindergarten student.”
Tips for conference
Parents who have a scheduled conference should arrive to the meeting on time, with a positive attitude and their phone turned off to avoid any unnecessary distractions.
You can also share any family dynamics that the student has with the teacher, and if you get home and realize you forgot to ask something, feel free to email the teacher for an answer or another face-to-face meeting.
“Your child is, of course, precious to you — but they’re also precious to the teacher,” Haraga says. “We are working together to make this the best year possible for ‘our’ kids.”
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