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December 13, 2016

Parent-Teacher Conference Strategies

Written By: Brandi Jordan
Originally Published On: August 9, 2011
Parent-Teacher Conference Strategies -

Parent-Teacher Conference Strategies

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.

Conference Strategies

Love Notes

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.”


Operation Listen

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.”

Parent-Teacher Conference Strategies -

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!

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  • Eva
    August 10, 2011

    I remember when my daughter’s second grade teacher, Mrs. Coyle, had her students write their own conference notes about themselves. They were pretty accurate and in some cases harder on themselves than she might have been. I still have that note and her journal form that year. Mrs. Coyle is now a colleague of mine and I have as much respect for her now as I did then.

  • Tanya R.
    August 9, 2011

    It’s really essential to build strong relationships with students’ families from the beginning. Our school has a meet-and-greet night a few days before the school year starts. This is a great opportunity to meet the students and their families. I always make it a point to meet everyone with a warm hand shake and a smile, and remember their preferred name to refer back to at a later time. Any family that is unable to attend the meet and greet, I make sure I call home within that first week of school to let them know how excited I am to have their student in my class and am looking forward to a successful year. Throughout the year, I involve the parents as much as possible, as they are the ones that truly know their students best. These parent-teacher connections make it easier to address any problem behaviors/situations that may arise throughout the year. This summer I found plastic picture frames that I’m going to use to display pictures of my students’ families in the classroom, so my students have a constant reminder of those individuals that are rooting for them and love them at home. I’d love to incorporate the love notes idea mentioned above along with my routines, I know the students will truly love it.

  • Kris
    August 9, 2011

    In fall we encourage all parents to attend. I always start our with the positives and hopefully have the prepared with any problems I am having before their conference time. I send home a small survey before conferences so I can be prepared for what their problems might be and have suggestions and solutions before they come in. I think it is important to have some good work that the kids have completed to show them also.

  • Alexis
    August 9, 2011

    I love the ideas for parent/teacher conferences! I definitely plan to incorporate some of these! What I have done in the past, for attendance, is email the parents beforehand to remind them of the date (scheduled by the school) and attach a Google Document for them to sign up for a time that is convenient for them. I express my availability on all days surrounding conferences, which I have found encourages them to come on a day that will allow them ample time to speak with me. I have found that being more flexible really shows the parents that I am here to help their family.

  • Regina
    August 9, 2011

    Our district no longer schedules parent conference days, so it is so hard to get parents to come in.
    I make a point to notify parents of positive things, so when I do need to have a conference, they are more likely to come.

  • Tina Marshall
    August 9, 2011

    thanks for the blog on parent-teacher conferencing. I really like the love notes idea in order to encourage parents to come in to meet with me. Kids are a great resource of help-if they really want something, they’ll work hard to get it! I also like the idea of working with parents to collaborate and come up with strategies to work with at both school and home along with making arrangements to have a follow-up meeting to discuss any further thoughts, isssues, etc. I’ll be sure to have my calendar handy in case that may be needed!

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