One of the hallmarks of a Peck education is the strong parent partnership in support of the students. While this partnership is alive and well all year, it is on full display during our semiannual Parent-Teacher conferences.
Head of the Lower School Nina Sharma, who has been at Peck for nearly 30 years, knows a thing or two about how to have a successful conference. She shared 11 tips for before, during, and after the conference to ensure you leave feeling both well-informed and prepared to support your child.
Prior to the conference:
- Confirm schedule and logistics: Be sure to know your conference time and join the Zoom a few minutes ahead of your scheduled time.
- Have a conversation with your child: How does he or she feel they are doing at school? Is there anything they want you to know, or want you to tell their teacher?
- Review your child’s work: Look at samples of your child’s school work that has come home. It helps to arrive to conferences with some knowledge of your child’s current progress.
- Make a list of questions: Write down and prioritize questions to ask the teacher so you don't forget them. Conferences are typically scheduled back to back. Teachers are mindful of allocated time and are trying to complete the discussions in an equitable manner equitable.
- Listen carefully: It is perfectly acceptable to take notes. This is particularly helpful if one parent or other involved relative cannot attend. It can also help you remember details so that you can ask questions later.
- Offer your perspective: Many times teachers will ask you about your child’s activities at home and your views of your child’s strengths and areas where help might be needed. Providing your observations or concerns can be very helpful to the teacher.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions: If you do not understand something or you have concerns, just ask! Teachers and educators can easily slip into jargon and forget that many parents are not familiar with the terms they use every day. Stop and ask for explanation of unfamiliar terms or programs.
- Ask for ways you can help your child at home.
- Make sure you talk one-on-one with your child after the meeting: This sends the message to your child that their progress and growth matters and is important to you. It also lets them know that you and the teachers are on the same page.
- Follow up on your conference discussions: Focus on strengths but don’t omit areas your child needs to work on. Share any plans that you and the teacher have created going forward.
Lastly, don’t forget that home and school share a common goal for your children: for them to achieve tangible academic growth in a manner that makes them feel confident, happy, and successful at school. Therefore, assume that teachers have the best intentions for your child, and that your partnership is both imperative and highly valued. We couldn’t do this without you!