August 27, 2015
By Bill Cirone
Nearly all our Santa Barbara county students have returned from summer break and are back in school. Not long after the school year begins, the time comes for parents to meet with teachers and discuss their children’s progress.
Parent-teacher conferences can be a very helpful means of communication, and they should be a two-way exchange of information about a child. Parents always want to know how their child is doing, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how they can help. But teachers also want to know of any stresses in a child’s life that could affect classroom performance and, of course, any special needs that a child might have.
To increase the effectiveness of these conferences, parents should consider taking some preliminary steps.
First, take time before the conference to think about your child’s strengths, weaknesses, study habits, and classmates.
Ask your child: What do you like about the classroom? What would you like to change? Do you understand the work? Do you feel you’re doing well?
There are also several questions a parent should consider asking the teacher during the conference:
Parents and teachers have much in common. Neither wants a child to fail. Neither wants a child to be caught between the pressures of differing standards at home and at school. Both know that learning goes on at school and at home.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present,” says best-selling author and Californian Alan Lakein, “so that you can do something about it now.” I would encourage parents to plan that conference early. Together, parents and teachers can become a powerful force for positive change in the life of a child. It’s worth taking a little time to make sure the initial conference is helpful and informative for all involved.