Following on from last week’s A Teachable Moment (and thank you for your feedback everyone, seems like Parents is a hot topic!!), here are the final 5 tips for conducting exceptional parent-teacher conferences. If you missed the first 6 tips, you can read them here.
Continued from last week…
DURING THE INTERVIEW
7. Always, always, always take notes
Even if you have the most incredible visual and auditory memory, I would still insist that you take notes during every single parent meeting. When you take notes, you are communicating to the parent that you are engaged, listening and that you will follow up on the issues raised during the meeting. Taking notes shows you are professional and diligent and gives parents an increased level of confidence in your ability to follow through. Of course, having notes can actually be a genuine help to you after the interview, as you can look back and remind yourself of what was discussed. However, taking notes can also help you as the teacher to relax during the interview – it gives you something to do! Remember, always, always, always take notes.
8. Some helpful don’ts:
- Don’t eat or drink in front of the parents. It is rude and lacks professionalism.
- Don’t enter into an argument with parents.
- Don’t get flustered. On the whole, parents are reasonable, but don’t expect miracles. Politely seek assistance if you feel the need.
- Don’t use definitive statements. Avoid saying things like ‘Harry never does his homework’ or ‘Jo always talks in class.’ Make suggestions. Parents will take what you say very seriously, and definitive statements are counter-productive.
- Don’t compromise other staff members by criticising them. E.g. ‘Your son/daughter is often unsettled after coming to my class from Sport.’ ‘I think Mr X is having trouble managing the students.’ Be respectful of other staff members in everything you say.
- Don’t talk about other students. This compromises your professional integrity.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
9. Make some final notes
Take a minute or two to write down some final thoughts and reflections.
10. Diligently do what you said you would do
If you committed to following something up or to reconnecting with the parent for whatever reason, make sure you do it. Your diligence in this will ensure you maintain a healthy professionalism in the eyes of the parent.
11. Keep communicating with parents
Communicating with parents should be something that you do regularly, not just when it’s the parent-teacher interview time or when things go wrong. Look for ways to connect with parents about positive things about their child – they will LOVE the feedback. (As a new parent myself, I cannot over emphasise this point! I LOVE hearing the great things my daughter did at day care! I will never get sick of it!!!)
Do you have some other helpful tips for excellent parent-teacher interviews? Why not post comments on my blog.
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly,
Enjoy the moments.
P.S. Want to have effective and enjoyable parent teacher conferences? Download my Parent-Teacher Interview Preparation Proforma below. It will really help you! I use it for every single parent teacher meeting.