Conferences are a great time to connect with families, but they can be stressful! Here are some tips to keep in mind as you get ready for conference week.
TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL CONFERENCES
There are so many ways to communicate with families throughout the year, but having a sit-down conference is a great way for everyone to gather to celebrate success and formulate a plan for support. Here are five things I do to make sure my conferences run smoothly.
Send Out Reminders
It can be very frustrating to put time and effort into preparing for a conference where the family doesn’t even show up! One of the best ways to ensure your families make it to their conference is to send out more than one reminder. You can do this by email, through a class communication app, or simply send home a postcard with a reminder in each child’s backpack.
Gather Student Work Samples
Whether you are discussing student behaviors, work habits, or academic progress, make sure you have student work samples and assessment data to back it up! You might even grab a copy of the previous report card just in case.
Start and End with a Positive
One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was to start and end with a positive. Families need to know that you care about their child and see them in a positive light.
Use the Time Wisely
Everyone’s time is valuable! Keep a checklist of all of the items you need to discuss during each conference and use this checklist to keep yourself on track. Save time at the end for questions or concerns. If a family shows up late or there are more concerns than you originally thought, offer to schedule another conference on a different day. If you let one conference run over, it will have a domino effect on the rest of your day!
Listen and Take Notes
Take notes on any questions or concerns brought up during the conference. When families offer tips or suggestions that have worked in previous years, write them down! You will thank yourself later when some of the conversations begin to fade and your notes will remind you of all of the items you promised you would follow-up on.
Looking for more teaching tips? Check out these blog posts.
If you hand out your report cards at conference time, you might enjoy this blog post.