As with teaching, planning is critical to an effective conference. Here are some important steps to include:
  • Prepare a send-home that invites parents to meet with you, states the purpose of the conference, and lists potential times, including both afternoon and evening slots. Have parents call or send a note to reserve a time slot.
    Note: When divorced parents share custody, don't forget to invite both.
  • Decide upon the goals for the conference (one or two will do).
  • Prepare an agenda that you share with parents before the conference. Include such topics as your general impression of the child, his or her progress in each academic area, standardized test scores, your goals for the child in each content area, and strategies you will use to meet goals.
  • Plan (and write down) questions to ask, points to make, and suggestions to offer.
  • Ask parents to bring to the conference a list of their child's strengths and weaknesses as they perceive them. (Include Sample Parent Conference Form for this purpose)
  • Fill out the Sample Teacher Form (or one like it) listing the child's strengths and weaknesses and proposing action to be taken.
  • Collect samples of student work to display.
  • Prepare to explain your goals and teaching strategies.
  • Schedule enough time for questions and discussion.
  • Pull together necessary materials such as a daily schedule of classroom activities, a checklist of skill areas and notes on student progress, sample work, test scores, and reports from other teachers where appropriate.
  • Excerpted from Linda Shalaway's book, Learning to Teach . . . not just for beginners.