Parent Teacher Conferences - TeachersFirst

Parent-Teacher Conferences
A guide for parents

Download a Printable Adobe Acrobat version of the "parent tips."

Working Together

Home and school-everyone shares the goal of helping children learn and feel successful. Research has proven that when parents and teachers work together, everyone benefits: students tend to earn higher grades, perform better on tests, attend school more regularly, have better behavior, and show more positive attitudes toward themselves and toward school. School programs that include strong parent involvement are more effective! Yet, collaboration between parents and teachers is not always a smooth process.

Parent involvement in children's education goes beyond contributing cookies to class parties or attending PTA meetings. To be effective, parent involvement has to be a partnership between the family and the school to assure that children are learning to the best of their ability, that they feel safe and supported, and that their parents feel well informed and involved in making decisions that affect their child's school experience. At the same time, a strong home-school partnership means teachers perceive that parents are concerned about their children's education and promote positive attitudes toward school and learning.

Establishing this partnership requires efforts from both teachers and parents to create a trusting, equitable relationship. Sometimes parents must first deal with their own discomfort with schools and teachers. If you experienced difficulty in school, you may have to overcome negative feelings that carry over from your own childhood. If you who are new to the community, come from another culture, or do not speak fluent English, you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of attending a conference with your child's teacher or participating in a Family Night or School Open House. You should not worry or be afraid of a conference with your child's teacher. Even if you have talked frequently with school personnel about your child's failing grades or misbehavior, a conference may be an opportunity to start a cooperative partnership with teachers.


Parenting Start

Prepared for the National Association of School Psychologists by Andrea Canter, Ph.D., NCSP. In part based upon Martin and Waltman-Greenwood, Solve Your Child's School-Related Problems (chapter 2, A Parent's Primer).

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