Parent-Teacher Conference: Tips for Expressing Your Special Needs Concerns
Parent-teacher conferences can either be enlightening or unproductive; it all depends on the teacher and you. Some parents may feel nervous about parent-teacher conferences while others are scared to hear how their child is doing. On top of these concerns, you have the added bonus of worrying about things other parents don’t, like language concerns. The following are a few tips to help you get through this meeting.
Interview Your Child Before Parent-Teacher Conferences
The first thing you want to do is prepare for parent-teacher conferences by interviewing your child. You do not have to make this as official as the title suggests, but make sure you talk to your child before meeting with his or her teacher. Parents who are dealing with language concerns should ask a question pertaining to this, but there are many other questions you should ask your child to prepare for the parent-teacher conference. The following are a few examples:
- How is your class going?
- What do you enjoy in class?
- Are there things you dislike about school?
- Is there anything you are having a hard time with?
- Are you happy with your classmates?
- Is there anything you would change at school?
Make a List of What to Address at Parent Teacher Conferences
There is going to be a lot to cover during a parent teacher conference, which makes a list vital. You may think you have everything under control, or you might expect that the teacher is going to go over all your concerns without being prompted, but this may not be the case.
It is wise to rely on yourself to go over what is important to you, which makes a list vital. You can easily take notes on your phone or tablet.
Using your concerns, make a list of questions for the teacher. Be sure to include the answers given to you by your child. You should place the most important education concerns at the top of the list, such as your language concerns. The reason you are doing this is because time can easily pass in parent teacher conferences, and you want to touch on what matters to you the most, like how the teacher will be dealing with language concerns.
Become a Partner
You probably moved heaven and earth to make sure you made the parent teacher conference on time, which might have taken its toll on you.
You are probably not the only parent who gets burned out, which is why it is easy to listen to the teacher without being too active in the conference. Do not be tempted to stay silent because this meeting is as much about your child as it is about you partnering with the teacher to improve your child’s education.
This means you should take notes during the meeting, and do not shy away from asking the teacher to clarify anything you did not understand. You do not want to misunderstand an issue the teacher brought up regarding your child.
One thing that is very important is that you ask the teacher to help you formulate an actionable plan to address your concerns or any issue that the teacher brings up. The reason you are doing this is so that you and your child’s teacher are on the same page, which makes executing a solution a little easier.
Both Points of View Matter
You have your list, and you have many questions to get to, but the teacher tells you something you disagree with.
Some parents in this position ignore what the teacher says so that they can address other education concerns. This is a mistake because your silence can seem like you agree with the teacher.
The teacher might continue his or her course of action, thinking that you are going to be helping when you are not. This could be counterproductive and could end up hurting your child. You can voice your point of view but do so respectfully. You and the teacher can approach the issue in a way that you both agree with.
These are just some tips that may help ensure that this parent teacher conference is a success, but there are other things to consider. For example, you want to be there on time so that you do not miss a minute of the precious time your child’s teacher has set aside for you. It might also be a good idea to open a line of communication between you and the teacher to update each other on your child’s development.