Parent teacher conferences always fall at the most stressful times! At my school we had 10 minutes per student to meet with parents. It was SO stressful! I had anywhere from 50-80 students with an average of 25 in my homeroom. We did formal conferences twice a year, with fall conferences being scheduled and mandatory for every child. I would always send a note out to parents that I was available before or after school if they were not able to attend on conference night. This was so helpful in preventing a line at my door! So many parents took me up on this and it was a win/win situation.
My biggest tip to keep stress at bay is to be prepared. I always filled out a form for each child with important information to keep at my finger tips. My students also filled out self evaluations. I kept all of this information and anything else to share during conferences inside a file folder. There were folders for each child.
My former principal always said “failure to plan is planning to fail.” Although this may sound like a silly statement it is so true.
Keep a Schedule
There were two copies of my conference schedule. I kept one copy posted at my doorway and the other next to me. I could keep track of who was next and cross out my conferences as they happened. It was helpful to be prepared in case a line did form at my door. I placed helpful handouts for parents to look through and take, a class supply wish list for those generous families, and directions and writing paper for parents to write letters to their children.
Communication is Key
These few things I did were very helpful in making my conferences run smoothly. However, the most valuable thing I did while in the classroom was to keep parents informed and the lines of communication open. No parent wants to be surprised by poor grades from their child! An easy way to ensure parents are informed is an online grading portal and communication folders. Parents received graded work on Friday and the folder was returned Monday with a signature!
I created the forms above which are available in my parent conferences on TpT. If you want to save time and buy them you can do so here.
What is some advice you would give to make parent teacher conferences run smoothly? Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter on the sidebar to access my freebie library and to receive emails with exclusive freebies and great content!