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From The 2 Sisters at www.thedailycafe.com : they share tips from Trish Prentice.
- Give parents a photo of their child enjoying a school activity. A twenty-five cent investment will pay big dividends and begin your conference on a positive note.
- Want a great way to show parents how special their child is to you? Try saying something like “One of the things I love best about your child is…”
- Parent goals — if parents haven’t filled out a goal-setting sheet, ask “What are the goals you have for your child this year?”
- Assessment results: explain in plain terms. Don’t use educational jargon with parents.
- Share what you’ve started to envision for this child: appropriate goals, strategies to achieve them. Even if there are only one or two things to say, parents will be impressed that you have considered their child at this level. (Prentice has a system for teachers called a “Pensive,” a checklist of considerations about each child.)
- If there is a problem that needs addressing, use the phrase “We’re continuing to work on…”
- Listen. Encourage parents to share their thoughts too.
- Handouts — it can be hard for parents to absorb and remember everything you’re sharing. Give them a packet to take home. Include fun, hands-on activities that parents can do at home with their child.
- Always end each conference with an invitation for parents to call or email with questions at a later date.
Prentice reminds us that parents sit through only one (two or three?) conferences. Teachers’ words matter and are replayed in their heads; they share them with neighbors. So be thoughtful and kind.
Be the teacher you’d want for your own child.
source: The 2 Sisters newsletter, “The Daily Cafe” at www.thedailycafe.com . This piece is available to members only, however.
tutoring in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email firstname.lastname@example.org