Five Tips to Take the Stress Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences

By Huntington Learning Center

End-of-year parent-teacher conferences can make some parents nervous – and they might be stressful for you too, particularly when meeting with parents of students who are struggling. Here are a few tips to put parents at ease and make conferences constructive:

  1. Be prepared. Know exactly what you want to discuss, and have a timeline to cover the essential topics. Provide parents evidence of their children’s progress and performance (e.g. a portfolio of recent work and test scores) to keep the conversation focused.
  2. Share efforts since your last meeting. If you’ve talked with parents previously about any issues, address what you’ve worked on since your last conversation/conference. Ask parents what they’ve tried at home as well.
  3. Communicate your goals. It’s not easy for parents to hear that their children are having problems. If you have to broach this topic, do so in an action-oriented, confident manner. Let parents know you’re committed to helping their children, share your plans to do so and ask for their input.
  4. You might already know about some of the contributing factors that are causing a student to struggle. Making parents feel heard and understood will go a long way toward moving things in a positive direction.
  5. Listen well. Many parents expect you to do most of the talking during conferences, but it’s important to let them talk too. Ask if they have concerns or ideas as you approach the end of the year. This information will help you make arrangements for a smooth transition to the next grade and future teachers.

After conferences, follow through with any next steps you discuss, whether that’s connecting parents with additional school resources or executing an action plan to finish the year strong. Need support? Call Huntington to learn more about how we work with teachers to help children learn.