It is time for Parent/Teacher conferences again. It is tough to find out or fix everything in the 3 minutes that are scheduled at many schools. It is really just a time to touch base or make an appointment for a longer conversation. It is important to come prepared to use the time wisely and open up lines of communication with your child's teacher.
Alexandra Mayzler, Director of Thinking Caps Tutoring wrote some tips to help parents during the conference season.
The first months of school are quickly coming to an end and parent/teacher meetings are upon us. Now is a great time to take a moment to speak to your child about how far he or she has come since the beginning of school, and where he or she hopes to be in the middle of the year and at the end of the year. Rather than wait for the first report card to come and indicate your child's progress, take time to talk about what your child wanted to accomplish and evaluate how the year is going in terms of both strengths and weaknesses. Looking back at the first few months of school will help everyone gain a better perspective of the techniques used and make any necessary adjustments. Here are some ideas about how to start the conversation:
1. Parent/Student Conference - before you sign up for the parent/teacher conferences, let your child know that you'll be attending the conference. Discuss why you're attending so that your child sees your commitment to his or her education. Ask your child how school is going and what he or she believes will be discussed at the conference. Have your child make a list of comments that he thinks the teacher will address. Together, consider academic highlights and challenges that your child is experiencing.
2. Homework Check In - ask your child how he or she feels about the homework process. Is your child able to complete the assignments? Does he or she have trouble remembering assignments or materials? Does your child feel comfortable about the amount of time spent on the homework? Do you? Pin-point any trouble spots with organization and time management.
3. Multiple Choice, Bubbles, Essays: Tests - talk to your child about his or her test preparation techniques. How is your child studying for different tests? Does he or she feel prepared when sitting down for a test and is he or she often surprised by the grades? Discuss test anxiety and ways to alleviate test day stress. I f your child feels uncomfortable with the test process, evalutate whether there is trouble understanding teh concepts or if test prep strategies need some tweaking.
The conversation should help you and your child establish an understanding of strengths and weaknesses. It is important to highlight the ways that your child is making progress. Don't spend too much time worrying about the errors, but instead focus on the outlook and how to improve the weaknesses. Use the mid-semester to review the origional goals and make any adjustments for the rest of the year.