It's that time of year when teachers connect with parents to report their child's progress at the first parent/teacher conference of the year. Conferences are usually 20-30 minutes in length, so getting yourself prepared prior to the conference can keep you focused and efficient. Here are some pointers to help you organize yourself:
1) Make a short checklist of things you want to cover. Prioritize them in order of importance in case you run out of time.
2) Take notes! Organize your notes in a binder/folder system to be able to bring to the next conference. Revisit issues brought up at previous conferences.
3) Ask about your child's classroom behavior, motivation as well as the specifics on his/her performance/present levels.
4) If your child is on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan, bring an updated copy and use the goals identified and services provided/accommodations on the IEP/504 to direct your questions.
5) If there are issues brought up at the conference, make a plan. In the plan, include a regular, sustainable way to communicate with the teacher to monitor your child's progress toward the plan goal.
6) If you have a child who presents with challenging behaviors at school, bring in a short video or photo of your child in their element enjoying themselves to provide your teacher a different perspective of your child. Seeing the child in a different light can expand the teacher's understanding of your child, can help build rapport and repair a damaged relationship.