Handling Parent-teacher Conferences

Issues like a child’s speech delay or developing temper-related mannerisms are often discussed at parent-teacher meetings besides the obvious subject of the child’s classroom performance. These are many advantages for a caregiver and a parent to attend a parent-teacher conference. An insight into the psychology of the parents and the ability to evaluate the kind of atmosphere they are providing to the child at home, is of vital importance to a teacher. Parents too need to look beyond their child's academic performance and should seek an honest opinion regarding his shortcomings.

Understanding the Parent Perspective
It becomes vitally important that an open line of communication and responsive relationship is established between the parents and teachers who are attending such a conference. In order to do this, the parents and teachers need to stay in touch via informal conversations over a period of time. During the meet, it is crucial for the teachers and caregivers to be sensitive to the fact that most parents may have a thought process. The caregiver needs to ensure that they establish an open dialogue with the parents with the welfare of the child as its main theme. Even if the teacher has some serious issues with the child, it is imperative to establish a positive tone for the conference before embarking upon the discussion regarding the weaknesses of the child.

Holding a Parent-teacher Meeting
The teacher should try and arrange the parent-teacher meet at a convenient timing and should begin the meeting with some positive anecdotes about the child. The teacher should try and focus more on the abilities and competencies of the child before discussing his inadequacies. The teacher should try and encourage the parent's side of the discussion and their inputs. These contributions by the parents provide valuable insight in evaluating the child’s home environment and the kind of parent support he has.

Tackling the Problem
If the teacher has a grievance or a specific concern regarding the child’s performance, he should work out a methodology that involves the parents. An involved parent is a key component in sorting out the problems that a child faces. It is important to remember that the child’s upbringing combines a classroom and his home. The emphasis should be on planning a cooperative action plan with an honest follow-up. As the meeting reaches its conclusion, the parents should be encouraged to approach with any further questions or concerns that they might have.