How Parents can Prepare for a Parent-Teacher Conference

By Huntington Learning Center

With the school year underway, it’s time for the first big milestone: parent-teacher conferences. Parents should use conferences as an opportunity to reflect with their child on how things are going so far. The parent-teacher conference is intended to be a productive, positive conversation about your child’s progress this school year, strengths and weaknesses. You’ll make the most of this important conversation by preparing ahead of time. What should parents do?

  • Get up to speed. Look over recent test and quiz scores and homework.  Refresh your memory on the last full report card and how your child did in each subject or class. If the teacher has reached out at all this school year, look through those notes or emails again. They might have made comments or suggestions on your child’s participation, effort or behavior that might come up during your discussion. 
  • Put a file together to bring with you. Your child’s teacher will likely have items on hand as well, but if you have a recent assignment or test that you want to ask about (e.g., if your child did not do well), bring those things along. 
  • Talk with your child beforehand. If you and your child discussed any goals at the start of the school year, now is a great time to revisit those. Ask how your child feels about the year to this point and which classes or subjects are most enjoyable and most difficult. Approach this conversation positively. If your child doesn’t open up, that’s okay. Just let them know that you’re always there for support. 
  • Make a list of questions. Often, teachers expect that they will share as much detail as possible about their students’ progress and any areas of concern and then give parents the floor to ask any questions. Jot down a few so you’re ready—here are a few ideas:
    1. How are my child’s study skills and focus level?
    2. Are you concerned about any learning loss remaining from summer break?
    3. Do you have suggestions to nurture good time management and organizational skills at home?
    4. What are the best ways to support our child at home?
    5. Is my child exceeding expectations in any area? 
    6. Is my child meeting expectations in any area?
    7. Is my child’s behavior in the classroom meeting expectations?
    8. Are there any concerns about learning issues like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? 

You can adapt these questions depending on your child’s grade. For example, if your child is in elementary school, make sure you ask about how your child is doing with reading and math. The foundation for these subjects is set in elementary school, so it’s wise to make sure your child is on grade level. If your child is in middle school, talk about how they are progressing toward high school readiness. Discuss their study skills as well.  

Parent-teacher conferences are an excellent check-in early in the school year where you can learn about where your child is doing well and where they are struggling. For you, it’s also an opportunity to maintain a good connection with your child’s teacher.  

The school-home partnership is so essential for children’s school success. Take time to prepare thoughtfully for the conference now so that you gain as much valuable insight as possible during your meeting with the teacher. This will benefit your child and strengthen their school experience.

If your child is struggling already this school year, don’t wait to get help. Call 1-800 CAN LEARN to learn more about our customized programs, our track record of success and how we can get your child back on the right track.