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Parent Teacher Conferences – A Worry Free Guide

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Parent-Teacher Conferences do not need to be stressful, but for many teachers (and parents, too) they are. Will I say the right things? How do I start the conference? How do I tell a parent I’m worried about their child? What if the parent doesn’t like me? How do I convey the love I feel for their child? These are all worries that many teachers have had at some point prior to meeting with parents. 

Having been a elementary teacher for over 22 years now and a parent of 4 boys, I can tell you that both teachers and parents have worries when it comes to parent-teacher conferences. It does not not need to be a stressful time, though. Here is what I would like to say to those teachers who need some guidance and help with de-stressing about conferencing:

You can do this. You are a highly-trained, capable, professional. You are a person with compassion. You love your students – each and every one of them. You can place yourself in the shoes of the parent(s) you will see across the table and realize that their child is their world. They have a right to be worried, proud, or anxious when it comes to their little one. You know how to help them. And if you don’t know all the answers, you will be honest and tell them you will work with them to find the answers. Parents need and deserve to have you at your very best during their 20-30 minutes with you. You will be ready, organized, and you will give them your best.

I’ve wondered for some time why my Parent-Conference Forms Packet is my number 2 seller of all time in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I recently took some time to review the packet and look at the feedback from teachers who have used it. I think I know why it’s so popular (almost 1,000 sold) now. Teachers, beginners and veterans alike, tend to stress over conference time. What is one of the best ways to take care of stress and anxiety? Preparation and organization. I don’t know about all of you, but I know that when I am totally prepared and organized for anything (hosting a party, the first day of school, a camping trip, etc.), I am so much more relaxed and better able to really enjoy the experience. 

I guess my Parent-Conference Forms Packet does that for teachers. It fully organizes them before the conference day, so they are really more relaxed and better able to be themselves during the time of the actual meeting.  It guides teachers through the entire process, from gathering data to talking to parents to creating an inviting atmosphere.

Ready to get organized? Here are some suggestions on how to prepare and successfully navigate Parent-Conferences with confidence:

1. Think about how you want to approach your conferences, what you will say to parents, how you will arrange the space, and how you can put parents at ease the moment they walk through the door. You can download my FREE guide on “What to Do and What Not to Do” right here.

2. Create a schedule for conference times. The day before parents’ appointments, send home a friendly reminder.
 
3. Gather data. I can remember the days when all I had to share with parents were grades and notes I had taken on each child. The amount of data we have now can be to your benefit. Get it organized on paper. I started sharing the simple 4-square form on the left a few years ago, and parents responded very well.They love having something substantial to take home and look over. It is very important to involve parents in goal-setting. Being organized with information prior to the conference is so helpful with this process!
4. Have a few extra things planned to make conferences even more rewarding for your students. In the hallway outside my door, I have a small table with “Love Letters” and pencils for parents to write a note to be left on their child’s desk. If I have parents who are not able to come to conferences, I write a note to their children and leave them on their desks, so that nobody feels left out. I also give raffle tickets for a free book from the next book order everyone attending conferences.
5. Treat your parents to something fun at the end of the conference! They will love you for it!
 
6. Wait, you’re not done! The goal of parent conferences is to meet with every, single parent. Take the time to call those parents who could not make it. Have a conversation with them about their child. Use a phone log to document who you contacted and to take notes.
You can download the “What to Do and What NOT to Do” Conferencing Guide for FREE HERE! It is a part of the entire packet, and I thought it might be helpful to you during this conferencing season.
Find the FREE Download HERE.
 
Take a look at some of the feedback I’ve received from teachers:
  • Very well organized and helpful reminders to create smooth conferences!!!
  • Worry Free is sooo accurate. Thanks for creating this!
  • Very organized! Great help for conferences!!
  • These were a hit with my parents last year! 🙂 I plan to use them again this year. Thanks so much!
  • Very helpful when I was scrambling to pull things together for conferences. Thank you!
  • I love this resource! Makes parent-teacher conferences a breeze!
  • What a wonderful resource! Thank you for helping me organize my conference madness!!!
  • Thank you so much! As a first year teacher, this has helped me tremendously!
  • Great resource! Helped me be completely prepared for conferences. Very useful tool!
  • This was a great way to stay organized before doing conferences. Thanks!
  • Perfect and useful! I felt very prepared for conferences!
  • Excellent forms to help communicate clearly with parents.
Here is the preview:
Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy teaching and best of luck with your parent-teacher conferences!
 

 

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Shelly Rees

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I'm Shelly Rees of Appletastic Learning. First and foremost, I'm a mom of 4 boys, wife of 25 years to Aric, and Wyoming girl at heart. I love being creative, making resources for teachers, baking cookies, Diet Coke, teaching, public speaking, and spreading kindness wherever I can. After teaching in the upper elementary grades for over 23 years, I retired early and focused on creating and helping teachers around the world with my teaching ideas and resources. I also serve as a mentor to hundreds of teacherpreneurs and help them get focused on growing their own successful businesses. With 100% honesty, I LOVE my life! Thanks for visiting! I hope you'll stay awhile and come back often. Read More

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