Sunday, November 30, 2014

Parenting Conferences {A Few Helpful Tips & A Freebie}

Hi y'all! It's Sara from Miss V's Busy Bees.
I hope you had a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving with your family and friends! How many of you braved the crowds and went shopping, as well? Too crazy for me!

I did, of course, hit up my favorite stores to get some supplies for my craft room for cheap - Hobby Lobby and Michaels would be out of business if it weren't for me! ;)

Anywaaaaays, on Monday, we resume our normal school days with our kiddos for 3 weeks until we hit a break again.

During those three weeks, in my district, we are required to hold parenting conferences. Who has already had conferences once this year? Twice? THREE times?? You lucky duck, you.
I held a few conferences before the Thanksgiving break so as to not bog myself down after the break.

Doing that, I learned a bit about my students and their likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses, but also learned a bit about my parents and their likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses.

It's true, conferences are for you to tell the parents about the students and how they are doing (or how they are NOT doing…). But, little did college let you know, during these conferences, you get to know and see why your students are the way they are.

The saying the apple does not fall far from the tree is SO true. I have some of THE best students. The only reason I have THE best students?? Because I have THE best parents.

But I digress.

I'm here to talk to you about some tips and tricks when holding conferences with your parents, regardless of the time of the year.
Start out with the positives! Every parent finds GREAT joy in hearing how fantastic their child is. Even if the positive is that Johnny can sit in his chair for 30 minutes at a time, a positive is a positive.

In my conferences, I've found that they go MUCH smoother and parents are more willing to listen if you tell them the positives of their students and then follow it up with ways to take the negatives to positives.
That leads me to tip two. Instead of saying "negatives," use the words "opportunity for improvement." This is a much more positive light to shed for parents, because we all have opportunities for improvement. Yes, even us teachers have opportunities for improvement!

I liked to refer to the places my students could work on (multiplication, comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, main ideas and details, etc.) as opportunities for improvement and plan to take that jargon back to the daily classroom with me, as well!
Take notes! Whatever you tell your parents as to what YOU are going to do for their child, write it down. Then, when parents tell you what they are going to do, write it down. Document, document, document.

That way, when your student improves tremendously, you can credit yourself and the parents for working together to get the student to where they are. When your student goes downhill or even plateaus, you can also back that up by stating what you and the parents agreed to do in order to help students.

Document, document, document!!
Have a short list of resources that parents can utilize at home with their students. Whether this be a list of websites to help students practice skills, a list of books to read to or with the students at night, or games that the whole family can play, which in turn help the student, provide it for your parents! They WILL be thankful, trust me!

More on this tip in a few… :)
Finally, tip 5. THANK THEM. Thank your parents for taking the time out of their busy schedule to meet with you. Thank them for helping their students at home. Thank them for working with you to make sure their child succeeds. While we, as the educators, would LOVE to hear a thank you ALL day long, imagine what these parents might feel.

They DO thank you as educators. They thank you for all that you do for their child. They may not show it nor ever say it, but they DO thank you! So, return that thanks to them - thank them for helping Johnny remember his multiplication facts, or subscribing to Spelling City so that their child will get better grades in spelling. Or for helping Carla work on her typing skills using the program Word on a Sunday night.


Do you have any tips to give for parenting conferences? I hope that when you DO have the conferences at your school that they go as smoothly as possible and you hit ZERO bumps!

To help with your conferences, I have included a link to a freebie for some of MY favorite resources for students. A list of apps, websites, books, and games for kiddos to play and practice at home with their families.

Grab the freebie by clicking the picture below!
Thank you for all that you do, teachers! You ARE appreciated!

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