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Reduce the Stress and Increase the Impact of the Parent-Teacher Conference

Reduce the Stress and Increase the Impact of the Parent-Teacher Conference

StaleImpact and a team of experts have a handful of suggestions for educators on how to make the most of the parent-teacher conference by reducing the stress of the important meetings while increasing the impact.

According to the article, the parent-teacher conference is more important than it ever was since research indicates nine out of 10 parents attend these meetings annually.

StaleImpact will be providing tips for improving parent-teacher conferences all week long, but today provides advice specifically from Kathy Nimmer, Indiana’s 2015 Teacher of the Year. Nimmer provides tips on how to "maximize ... interactions for parents" as well as increase purpose in the classroom.

First and foremost, Nimmer insists that teachers must be adequately prepared when heading into the conference. A teacher should never assume that the parent is briefed already on their child's progress.

Teachers should come to the conference totally ready to discuss the student's academic performance, pertinent social behavior, and any grade inconsistencies that might indicate a need for extra help, Nimmer said in the article.

And when addressing inconsistencies or problem areas, Nimmer suggests starting with the positives first. She says it's especially important to start with welcoming body language to encourage two-way dialogue, including eye contact, a smile and good posture. Even when things get tough, such as situations where parents unexpectedly react in negative ways, Nimmer urges teachers to maintain composure.

"'Don’t take anything personally if the conversation gets tense, because the parent just wants what’s best for the child as well, but they might not have the best way to express that desire,'" she said, according to the article.

Overall, Nimmer says teachers should view the conferences as an important tool for improving teaching techniques in the classroom. Getting to know a student's home life and family should help teachers get a better idea of how to approach teaching the student.

“'I see these beautiful young people in class and don’t know what their home lives are like ... Certainly in a short conference I can’t get that entire picture, but I certainly can learn more about what makes them tick because of what situations are around them at home,'" she said.

Read the full article here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

10/07/2015

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