One of the most important jobs, that a student teacher has is collaboration with parents. Parents are always interested in how their child is doing. A parent teacher conference is a face to face meeting. It brings parents up to speed on their child’s progress. This article will give some suggestions, on how a student teacher should conduct this conference.
Know the Conference Format
The student teacher can usually get this from their cooperating teacher. Some schools have guidelines and procedures that must be followed. Make sure that the regular classroom teacher is in the area, when you do the conference. Remember, the student is theirs. You are only there temporarily.
Set a Date and Time (Appointment)
With both parents working now days, it is hard to get everyone together. However, it is very important to try and do so. If the parents are separated, try to have both involved if possible. On your appointment schedule, have a start and stop time. This helps the student teacher, when other parties are waiting their turn.
You will need turned in homework, tests, papers, projects and your grade book. Physical proof, that parents can view, will make it easier for the student teacher.
Dress and conduct yourself as a regular teacher would. Be friendly and courteous. Always introduce yourself and shake hands if possible.
Keep Discussion Confidential
Close doors to the room or office before the conference. I can’t express how important this is to the student teacher and parents.
Avoid Student Comparisons
Never compare the student in discussion with other students. Parents don’t care about other students. Their main concern is their child only.
Show and Discuss Works
Verify grades by showing work progress or lack of it. Avoid bringing up outside influences like sports, jobs or other distractions. Stick to the physical evidence you have in front of you. Do not raise your voice. Show concern if needed.
After you have went through all work and grades, seek common ground on what can be done for improvement. It might be things like moving a student in the classroom, vision and hearing problems, distractions inside the classroom, outside influences like sports and extracurricular activities. Let the parent make the recommendation. Remember you are not the parent. They have to make these decisions. If they ask for your opinion, then give them some helpful ideas.
Always end the conference on a positive note. Thank the parents for their time and effort. Walk them to your door if possible. End any discussion, before opening the door for the next set of parents. Remind them to feel free to call and double check on child’s progress, when they feel it is necessary.