Getting parents involved and excited about parent-teacher conferences can be challenging. They may be nervous about attending, because of their own anxieties about school or worried about their child’s performance in class. Two Really Good Teachers shared their strategies with us for getting parents to conferences and working with them to address any academic or behavioral concerns.
Rozanne, a Kindergarten Teacher from Somerville, Massachusetts, uses love notes to help raise the attendance at parent-teacher conferences. “When I meet with parents to confer about their child’s progress, I ask them to each write an encouraging love note to their child and place it in a small mailbox I have in my classroom for just that reason,” she says.
“At circle time, I read the letters aloud and we applaud each one. Because my students are eager for parents to write them letters, they nudge their parents to meet with me so conference attendance has increased. After sharing each letter, I put the note in the yearly binder along with photos, monthly portraits, samples of work, love notes, etc., that I give to each child at the end of the year.”
Sometimes addressing sensitive issues can be difficult for parents to hear so Shaelynn, a Primary Teacher from East Prarie, Missouri, offers this sound advice. “I have found that a parent with a concern about his or her child is often too upset to generate many positive solutions. That’s why I make it a habit to listen to a parent’s concern and then offer some solutions I can try in class. I also offer some ideas the parent can try at home, and let them know I am open to any suggestions they may have for me as well,” she explains. “From there, we agree on some solutions to try, both in the classroom and at home, and agree on a date when we may touch base again to see if our ideas are helping, or if we have to try different approaches. This allows the parents to feel comforted by the fact that I am eager to help rather than judge the situation, and encouraged and hopeful that we will work until things improve for the child we both care for.”
How do you deal with attendance and problem solve solutions with parents of your students at conference time? Leave a comment below or on the forum and let us know!