‘We’re Working On It’ Means There’s A Problem – And Other Tips For Parent-Teacher Conferences

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The semester is over. Teachers are racing to get testing done and grades in those report cards. Kids are enjoying one last week of freedom before their parents sit down with their teachers and suddenly find a renewed interest in their schoolwork. And moms everywhere are trying fit this fifteen-minute sit down into their busy schedules and worrying about the report that they’ll get there.

This week, we had my daughter’s first real parent-teacher conference. It’s her first year of pre-school, and the October meeting seemed more like a “getting to know you” session. The class was just getting settled and the teacher wasn’t quite testing the kids on their knowledge yet. Now, even at three years old, my little one is taking part in assessments and demonstrating her knowledge of numbers, colors and shapes. But preparing for my first big conference made me start thinking about the parent’s position in this long tradition. Other than sitting and smiling, what are the adults really getting out of parent-teacher conferences?

It’s been argued on Mommyish before that conferences can feel like a waste of time. As the daughter of a teacher, I simply don’t believe that’s true. I think it’s important to show that you care about your child’s education. I also believe that your child’s teacher sees important parts of your kid’s personality and that you can learn a lot about them by hearing how they interact at school.

Basically, I know that conferences are important. I just didn’t know how to make the most out of them. So for guidance, I turned to an amazing group of teachers to get the inside scoop on parent-teacher interviews. What questions should parents be asking? What clues should we be looking for? Here’s what I found out from the other side of the desk. Here’s what teachers want you to take out of parent-teacher conferences.

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