It’s that dreaded time of year for most teachers….conferences.
My first year of teaching, I was terrified of my conferences! I had great parents and wonderful students, but just the thought of meeting with the parents to discuss their child’s grades and the possibility of them questioning my actions/motives in the classroom was nerve-wracking. Thankfully, all 11 of my conferences that year went smoothly and, dare I say, I actually enjoyed chatting with the parents! It really allowed me to show them how much I love and care for their child and want to help their child succeed.
Last year, my second year of teaching, I only had eight kiddos (seven later in the year), and a few parents didn’t make it to their conference. Some of these conferences were a bit more challenging due to lower grades on report cards, but they still went smoothly.
So here I am, in my third year of teaching, and I’m finally feeling a little more confident going into each conference. I have an awesome group of students this year and I know most of the parents well. This is the first year where there has not been a conference that I have been “dreading”. I am excited to chat with these families and tell them how well their child has been doing in 5th grade!
I start out each conference with prayer. What better way to begin a conversation?! I then show the parents their child’s report card and give them a minute or two to look over it on their own. Next, I point out several areas where their child is doing well, whether it be in academics, participation, behavior, organization, or some other area. We then look at an area or two where their child may need some improvement. For most of my 5th graders this year, it is in reading comprehension (but that is for another post). We try and come up with an action plan for both at school and at home so that we will see improvement in the next 9 weeks. Sometimes this will involve sending home extra work, or it might be one-on-one help at recess/silent reading time. I then answer any questions they may have about grades, conflicts with other kids, or behavior issues. We sit and chat about any other issues and I try and close the conference with one last positive comment so that they are leaving on a great note! Oh, I also give them a print out of the Accelerated Reader quizzes their child has taken so that they can see how their child is doing with AR.
What are your conferences like? Do you find yourself getting stressed about them? What do you think is the most important thing you discuss at conferences??