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Ten Parent-Teacher Conference Tips

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Parent-teacher conferences may be one of the most stressful times for teachers, old and new. Even though they are sometimes challenging to plow through, parent-teacher conferences are a great way to form relationships with parents while highlighting students' strengths. Parents often provide valuable information during conferences that can help you refine your teaching strategies. Also, when parents discuss their concerns early on in the school year, your future communications will be more effective.

EducationWorld has curated a list of ten parent-teacher conference tips educators can use in all levels of the classroom. These tips were derived from three sources: ASCD Express, Teach Hub, and 


  1. Make Outline/Gather Materials: ASCD encourages teachers to develop "​a plan for how you'll divide up the time will help you stay on track." The article also offers a general outline for a teacher's 30-minute conference:
  • 5 minutes: Opening conversation
  • 10 minutes: Report on academic progress and concerns
  • 10 minutes: Report on social progress and concerns
  • 5 minutes: Summing up
  1. Steer Conversation Back To Positives:I'm sorry things didn't go well for Adam last year. But because our time is limited, I'd like to focus on what we can accomplish this year if we work together." 
  2. Invite Parents to Share Their Thoughts: "As experts on their children, parents can share valuable insights. And they'll appreciate your respectful recognition of their role in helping their children."
  1. Communicate About Entire Classroom, As Well As Individual Students: "Make sure that parents are aware that you’re responsible for more than just their student. Setting this context will help parents see your point of view when and/if you need to make a decision that is best for the group, but which might not be ideal for each individual student."
  2. Be Aware of Schoolwide Communications: "Parents will not only be hearing from you. The school will be communicating with them about schoolwide issues as well. You don’t want parents to feel like the only thing that is being communicated to them is fundraising requests."
  3. Measure Your Success: "Pay attention to results. Are your communications getting parents engaged? Do they show up? Do they return permission slips, do students arrive prepared for class? What methods are providing the most response from parents and students? You can adapt your plan to make the best use of your time. If most parents respond best to email, then you can save yourself some calls home." 
  1. Communicate With Parents Before a Conference is Necessary:This first item can help prevent issues down the road. When you have a student who is struggling in either their academics or their behavior, you should communicate this with his or her parents with either notes or phone call." 
  2. Begin and End On a Positive Note: Try to think of something nice to say about the student in question. For example, you might say something about their creativity, their handwriting, their sense of humor, or any other comment that you can think of that applies."

For example: "Thanks for meeting with me today. I know that working together we can help Johnny succeed."

  1. Be Prepared for Upset Parents: "While you hope that it won't happen, every teacher has to deal with an irate parent at some point. Remember that the best way to combat this is to keep parents informed every step of the way. Much anger can be avoided if the parents are informed." 
  2. Include Someone Else in the Conference: "If at all possible try to get a guidance counselor or administrator involved in the parent-teacher conference. This is especially true if you fear that the parent might become agitated or irate. Having another individual there can have a calming influence on the situation."  

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor