Helpful tips for Preparing for a Child’s Conference

Helpful tips for Preparing for a Child’s Conference

parent conferencesConference time can be an anxious time of the year.  Especially if your child has been
struggling in a certain area.  As a parent I have had both positive and negative conferences.  The positive conferences were usually the ones where they told me everything that was going well and asked if I had any questions.

The negative conferences dealt with some pretty tough topics like my child not handing in her homework or not being able to focus on her work like the other students.  It is really easy for me to hear good things about my child, but it can be difficult to listen to areas that she needs to work on.  Especially when the list is big.  So, here are some tips to make sure you leave the conference feeling good about the information that was shared.

1.  Don't become defensive.  This conference is about your child and not about you.

(I have noticed that once I start becoming defensive that is really hard to hear what the teacher is saying.)

2.  Be open to suggestions that the teacher offers.  For example, a teacher may discuss the need for a reading tutor.  This is because they are aware that more time than is offered in school is needed in order for your child to be successful.

3.  Ask for the areas that your child is doing well in.  Most teachers will find something positive to report about your child, but not all of them will.  Be prepared to ask them if much of the feedback is negative.

4.  Remember that this teacher has most likely worked an entire day with students and is meeting with you when it is usually their time to relax a little.  They may not come off as chippy as you would like, but they have your child's best interest at heart.

5.  Ask what you can do to support your child at home.  Are there some resources that you should be using or additional activities that you should be doing?

6.  If you don't understand something, always ask questions.  Teachers hear questions all day long and the only way they can help you is if you ask them yours.

7.  Try to include your child in the conference.  This conference is all about them.  Whether the information is positive or negative, they should be taking an active role in his/her education.

8.  Don't try to compare your child to the other kids in the class.  Your child is unique with special talents and may do well or not as well as the other kids.  The most important thing is that your child is working at his/her level.

9.  Be consistent with what you plan on doing after the conference.  It is really easy to start off strong and then allow our hectic lifestyles to take over.

10.  Thank the teacher for the work that they do with your child.  You would be amazed at how rare it is for a parent to be grateful for the work that a teacher does with their child.  They are doing amazing things for our children and deserve a huge pat on the back.

Hope this helps as you are preparing for your next set of parent teacher conferences.  The more you engage in the conversation the more you will learn what you can do to support your child.

Supertintin Rocks!

Supertintin Rocks!

I have just recently begun using a new skype recorder and I am extremely impressed with it.  It is called Supertintin and I am excited about all of the amazing features that it offers.

First, let me explain why I like using Supertintin.  Supertintin is a tool that I can use with my students.   Last night I was using it to record a session and then I used it to play it back later on. I was able to hear this student from a new perspective.  During the session I was helping her with figuring out new words, but then afterwards after listening to the replay I realized that I also need to focus on fluency with her.  Her reading is very choppy and very little personality shows through when she is reading.  That is just one of the powers of Supertintin.  This tool is going to be so helpful with my students because their teacher is going to be more cognizant of their reading behaviors.

Before I begin working with a student I always start with an assessment.  One of the things I have always wanted to do is tape the child before I start working with her at the end to be able to see the improvements.  I currently have 25 students, so sometimes, even though I have written a report which tells me how much a child has improved, it would be really helpful have another resource to take a look at.  I think that this is a tool that parents would appreciate as well because we get accustomed to how our child is reading now and sometimes can’t see the amazing growth the child has made.

I also like the different features for recording that Supertintin offers.  Supertintin has it so that you can control which side of the webcam is being taped and allows you to tape both sides at the same time using the side by side feature.  You can even just choose to have the audio taped if you do not want to record the video.

Before you ever tape a skype session it is important to get the permission from the other person.  This can be done via you simply asking and then giving you a verbal yes or you can put it in writing and have them respond ahead of time.

I plan on using this wonderful tool not only with my students, but also to help promote up and coming authors.  I love sharing great books with my readers and I think it makes it much more interesting for them when they can meet the author through my interviews.

For all of my readers this week, Supertintin is offering an opportunity to win your own copy.  So, comment below and tell us how you would use Supertintin and may just be the lucky winner.

4 Tips to Preprare you for a Parent Teacher Conference

4 Tips to Preprare you for a Parent Teacher Conference


When I was in 2nd grade I remember a little boy telling our teacher that his mom was pregnant.  The teacher’s response was so infectious that I decided to tell her that my mom was pregnant too.  I wanted some of that love and excitement passed my way.  However, when it came time for the Parent/Teacher Conference my mom was not feeling the love.  She came home that night very angry with me.  Hmmm…I wonder why?


Perhaps my mom should have read this blog that would have accurately prepared her for such things.  Oh ya, not possible since it didn’t exist yet.  So here it goes.


#1 Ask your child what he/she feels is going really well in school


Communication with your child is one of the most important things you can do to get prepared.  You want to stParent Teacher Conferenceart off with the positivethings first.  These are the things that your child can be proud of.  If your child only gives a one word response, then you want to probe him/her more to get more details.  Here are some probing stems that may be helpful, just choose one or two to help the conversation along.


Tell me more about that….

Why do you feel that way?

Are there any other kids that are really good at that in your class as well?

What makes you really good at _______?

Do other people in your class notice that you are good at that as well?

Does your teacher see that as an important skill?  Why or why not?


#2 Ask your child what he/she is struggling with in school


This question is really important because what your child sees as difficult and what his/her teacher sees as difficult could be different and you want to be an advocate for your child.  Sometimes your child may be struggling with something that the teacher does not even notice.  You can speed up the process of the teacher needing to get to know the child, by just letting him/her know that your child is struggling with something.


The following probes can be used to help your child in communicating this.


Have you told your teacher that you are struggling with this?

Do you feel comfortable talking with your teacher?

What do you think would happen if you told your teacher this?

Are there any ways that you are getting support for this in school?

Are other kids struggling with this too?  What are some things they are doing to get better at it?

What do you think your teacher would say if she knew that you were struggling with this?  Do you feel he/she is supportive?


#3 Is there anything that you need to know about before you attend the parent/teacher conference


Let your child know that you are going to be having a conference with his/her teacher.  Sometimes kids are allowed in the conference and sometimes they are not.  Ask your child or the child’s teacher to find this out.  Then ask your child if there is anything that you need to know before you attend this conference.  This is the one that my mom could have used.  Although, I am not sure if I would have told her about the conversation I had with my teacher about her being pregnant.  It can, though, at least open up the door to conversation and give your child an opportunity to come clean about anything that may need to be made visible.  If you know ahead of time, you will be less likely to take anything personally and will be more equipped to handle it.


#4 Email the teacher to verify the time of the conference and ask if there is anything you need to know beforehand to help prepare you.


Don’t assume that if there is a problem that the teacher will contact you.  This is not always the case.  Sometimes teachers wait till the parent teacher conference to discuss issues that are occurring and then the parent becomes angry because he/she feels like he/she was not in tune with what was happening at school.  It is also an opportunity for you to mention some of the things that your child is loving and struggling with briefly.  This will prepare the teacher for anything that you feel needs to get discussed.  An example e-mail could look like this.




I am so excited to meet with you on (insert date and time) to talk about my son/daughter.  (insert child’s name) has told me that he/she is loving __________.  She has also told me that she is struggling with __________ and I hope that we can come up with some solutions to this.  Is there anything that you think that I may need to know before we meet?  Again, I am looking forward to getting to sit down and chat and I am so grateful for all of the hard word that you put in on a daily basis.  Thank you for your time.



(insert your name)


If you put these 4 tips into action you will set yourself up for a very successful parent/teacher conference.  You won’t feel side swept with any information and you will have a feeling of really knowing what is happening at school for your child.


P.S.  How could a tool this be helpful for you?  Have you ever had a bad parent/teacher conference where something like this would have been helpful?  Share your comments below.