School Based Clinician's Corner: Two Kinds of Parent-Teacher Conferences
We just celebrated open house night at our high school and, as usual, the principal announced that this night was not a night to chat with parents about how their students were doing in our classes. We were supposed to describe our course and provide a syllabus for the visiting parents.
Sure, parents want to know about what their child is learning, but the real question they all have is, “How is my Humberto doing in your class?” So, what do I tell the parent or guardian? “Sorry, I can’t talk about Humberto now, come back later?” Rather than do that, I made a compromise. As I described the class goals, I told the parents a bit about their child’s successes in my class and explained how they could help their child have more success at home. Voilà! Mini-parent conferences.
A Strategic Approach
Actually, there are only two types of parent-teacher conferences: those that you’re prepared for and the surprise conferences that you’re not prepared for. Fortunately, I was prepared for the mini-parent conferences at the open house because I had personally invited the parents of struggling students to come. In general, I have found that elementary teachers do a much better job than secondary teachers of scheduling and holding regular parent conferences for all students.
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