Make the Most of a Parent-Teacher Conference
Learn how to get the most from a parent-teacher conference by attending the meeting with your partner, emailing any concerns to the teacher in advance, bringing an action plan, and, of course, thanking the teacher.
Parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should do more than listen, nod, and smile during a parent-teacher conference.
We are an equal and essential part of the equation, and we should actively participate, especially when the conversation turns to school accommodations.
The following tips will help you make the most of your meeting time:
1. BE ON TIME. The teacher has to schedule conferences one after the other. Being late wastes your time – and suggests to the teacher that you’re not taking the meeting seriously.
2. STAND UNITED. Whenever possible, both parents should attend the meeting. Showing up together demonstrates your commitment to your child’s education.
3. LOOK TO PRAISE. Share any positive comments you’ve heard from your child about the teacher, class, or classroom to set a constructive tone for the meeting.
4. STAY INFORMED. Talk with your child to see if he has any concerns about school – related or unrelated to his ADHD. Look over recent assignments and tests, so you know what he is studying and how he is performing in class.
5. PLAN AHEAD. E-mail any concerns to the teacher in advance, if you want a thorough, thoughtful response.
6. BRING YOUR CHILD’S REPORT CARD. Most schools plan parent-teacher conferences for after the first progress reports or report cards are sent home. Review your child’s progress to see if there are any areas in which he may be struggling, or any concerns you would like to discuss.
7. HAVE A LIST. Make a written list of your main questions and concerns. Give a copy to the teacher, and include all of your contact information. If you run out of time, ask that any unaddressed items or concerns be responded to by e-mail.
8. BRING AN ACTION PLAN. Prioritize your concerns and the steps that you feel should be taken to ensure that your child reaches his educational potential for the school year, and give a copy to the teacher. Make sure you leave the meeting knowing the next steps that will be taken to help your child succeed.
9. RESPECT THE NEXT PARENT. If you run out of conference time, schedule a follow-up meeting to address concerns that still need to be discussed.
10. THANK THE TEACHER. Teachers don’t get paid for the additional time, attention, or effort they put into helping our kids. They are underpaid and under-appreciated for what they do.
11. FOLLOW UP WITH YOUR CHILD. A parent-teacher conference is an opportunity to praise the accomplishments and effort your child has made, and to discuss any areas that may need improvement. Use this opportunity to create short- and long-term goals, reinforcements, and expectations.