How to Make the Most of the Parent-Teacher Conference

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Every few months or so, parents receive a notice from school, asking them to attend a parent-teacher conference. Most parents gladly make time for such occasions, arranging their schedules to make sure they are present. Some parents don't pay much attention to these occasions though. They think the updates they get every day from their child's school diaries are enough. The objective of a parent-teacher conference, says Teacher Grace Profeta of Keys School Manila, is for the parents to know how their child is doing across different developmental areas. These include motor, socio-emotional, and cognitive development.

Teacher Hanna Garcia of Enfuego Christian Academy adds that it is through these conferences that parents get an idea their child's academic and behavior performance. “This is also the time we recommend intervention to be given to students,” she says.

Parent-teacher conferences are important to a child's academic progress for a number of reasons.

"This is the only time where you can freely talk to your child's teachers about your child's progress. As the saying goes, 'It takes a village to raise a child' and your child's teacher is part of that village. The relationship may be different but our goals are the same. We want our children to be the best grown-ups they can ever be. And we can do this by working with people who also spend most of their days with our children,” says Teacher Grace.

Teacher Hanna adds, “It is very important because a child's education is a team effort between home and school. For parents, getting updates of their child's academic and behavior performance will put them in a position to help in addressing specific needs.”

"I highly suggest that parents attend parent-teacher conferences,” says Teacher Grace.

What can parents expect during a parent-teacher conference?

At Keys School Manila, Teacher Grace says teachers present feedback on the proficiency of a student vis-a-vis learning standards. Furthermore, they present a portfolio of the child's works to his parents. This portfolio is a profile of how the child is as a learner. The following are usually included in the Keys portfolio:

  • Evidence of skills and concepts that a child has achieved and learned
  • Strategies he applies to accomplish tasks
  • How he solves different problems, from math problems to everyday problems
  • How he works with a group and a partner as well as how he works independently
  • How he has been helped in school to further develop his skills as well as manage his frustrations
  • Goals to be achieve by the next term

Teacher Hanna says that at Enfuego Academy, other concerns and issues pertaining to the child are also discussed.

Parents can make the most of these conferences, Teacher Hanna says, by asking any and all questions that concern them. These questions could hopefully lead to more substantive discussions.

It would be good if parents list down all these questions and points of clarification before the conference. Teacher Grace encourages parents to jot down suggestions given by teachers, too.

She adds, “It would be nice if parents also have a list of goals that they want their child to achieve."

Together, parents and teacher could work on how these goals may be achieved. Teachers can suggest points that parents and kids can do at home too for follow-through.

Teacher Grace says, "Remember, parents and teachers are on the same team, working towards the same goal which is for the child to achieve success!"