Although the forum is a bit different this year, parent-teacher conferences still have the same goals as ever–to help create the best outcomes for your student. There are definitely different challenges we’re facing this year but knowing how to communicate with your child’s teacher will go a long way in helping your child achieve their goals despite the pandemic.
Before your conference, do your homework! Ask your child how it’s going and if they have any concerns they want to be brought up with the teacher. Review grades, policies, and procedures and make sure you have defined any educational jargon that you don’t understand.
Make sure to take notes so you can discuss the conference with your child afterwards. Including your student in the discussion will show them how dedicated you and their teacher are to helping them be successful.
Come armed with a list of questions you want to ask the teacher. There is nothing worse than having nothing to talk about or listening to the teacher discuss something that you’re already familiar with. You most likely won’t get to every question on your list so prioritize them in case you run out of time. Here are a few questions to keep in mind:
- What is your preferred method of communication?
- How can I best stay on top of what’s happening in the classroom and at the school?
- What resources can we use if my child gets stuck on homework or has a question outside of school hours?
- What is your teaching style and how can I keep things consistent at home?
Questions for Lower Grades
- What are the top 5 skills my child should walk away with this year?
- What questions should I ask my child daily to keep up with what’s happening in the class?
- What can I do at home to make virtual learning more fun and stimulating?
- How can I help my child be more organized at home?
- Is my child performing on grade level in math and language arts?
- Are there any behaviors, good or bad, going on in virtual meetings that I need to be aware of?
- Will there be standardized tests this year and how can we prepare for them?
Questions for Upper Grades
- How can I help my middle/high school student gain independence this year?
- How can I stay informed of behavior issues that may arise with my child?
- What is your policy on late/make-up work?
- What will have the biggest impact on my child’s grade this year?
- What are some essential college/life skills that my child needs help growing?
- How can I help my child be more organized without doing it for them?
Questions if Your Child is Struggling
- What are some modifications you might make if my child is struggling with a concept or subject?
- What are some tools for extra practice my child can do to help reinforce concepts taught in class?
- Is my child at a point where he/she may need a tutor or outside help?
- How can I support literacy at home? What books should my child be reading?
Questions if Your Child is Excelling
- What are some ways I can provide enrichment in the subject or topics in which he/she excels?
- How do you tailor lessons to a child who is excelling and needs to be challenged?
- What are some strategies you use to encourage critical thinking in class?
- As my student gets ready for higher-level classes, what areas could they be working on to get them ready for harder coursework to come?
When your conference is over, make a communication plan with the teacher. Conferences should not be the once-a-year check-ins that they once were. Follow up with additional questions and make a point to check in more frequently.
Whether your child is still learning virtually, or has returned to in-person school, parent teacher conferences can still be productive and achieve the same goal of helping your student be successful.