How to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

How to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences
Karen Gold, Academic Dean

Dos and don’ts from a veteran teacher

As a veteran teacher, I look forward to Fall Family Weekend at The Governor’s Academy and the opportunity to meet my students’ parents and guardians. Most independent schools’ family weekends are held in October, and our New England campus looks its best in all its fall splendor! The real business of family weekend is for parents to meet their student’s teachers and, in many cases, check in about their progress. At their best, these one-on-one discussions about a student can result in greater understanding and clarity about what both teacher and parents see and allow for collaboration for the student’s growth. Here are a few dos and don’ts to make that time with your student’s teachers most effective:

DO ask, “What are you seeing from my student in the classroom?” Ask the teacher how much your student participates in class and whether they’re completing assignments and arriving to class prepared. Find out if they are engaged and focused during class. Where are the areas of strength and the potential for growth?

DON’T ask, “What grade will my student get in this class?” Teachers don’t know yet. We’re professionals with lots of experience and are committed to your student’s academic success!  And truthfully, there is still plenty of time for a grade to change! Instead, explore with the teacher what skills your student needs to develop in the class. Do they need to work on test preparation? Would they benefit from going for extra help or accessing the learning resources their school offers? Focusing on skills instead of grades will prepare them for success in high school and beyond.

DO share what you know about your student! You know your child better than anyone, so let teachers know who your child is outside school. Is your student spending an inordinate amount of time on homework assignments? Do they feel anxious about speaking in class or before an assessment? Have they always loved to read? Are they close to friends back home?

Most importantly, enjoy the opportunity to connect with your student’s teachers and the day full of activities on campus. You’ll most likely have the opportunity to hear the Head of School offer his vision for the school year. Be sure to attend athletic games and art receptions with your child. Take the time to meet other families at the parent reception. The theme of any successful family weekend is the connection with you and your child, their teachers and advisor, and all the campus offers.

We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Author: Karen Gold, Academic Dean

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