One of the most common items on a parent-teacher conference agenda is the preparation of lesson plans. In our preschool, parent-teacher conferences occur regularly – perhaps more often than not once a week! These are important events in that they allow the teachers to get together and discuss issues facing the preschool classroom. Also, they help the teachers plan for upcoming activities. Preschool plans must include a teacher’s outline of the upcoming activities as well as a detailed plan of when each activity will take place and what specific lessons will be covered.
Parent teacher conferences are generally facilitated by the school board or chairperson. These individuals are very experienced in coordinating activities, after-school programs, and extra-curricular activities for students. They know who the teachers’ leaders are, how the schools are performing, and how parents are involved in their classrooms. They are also usually quite experienced at creating effective strategies for the classroom. The goal of a conference is for parents and teachers to come together to create a plan of action for the entire classroom.
A parent-teacher conference takes place in an environment that is free of emotion. No one is there to criticize, yell, or make comments about the teachers’ work. Most importantly, no one will ask the teacher to explain herself. The goal is for the teacher to simply provide a plan of action.
Each teacher is provided with a separate sheet of paper for homework assignments. Homework is typically due within a couple of weeks of the start of the class. Most teachers assign a set number of minutes for each assignment and grade the assignments based on the quality of the work completed. The teacher conference will allow the parents to voice their concerns regarding the assignment schedule and/or grading system.
Teachers can choose to meet individually with parents before or after the scheduled meeting. This allows them to get some one-on-one time to discuss any concerns they may have. This time can be used to make sure all parts of the school are working together efficiently. It also provides the teachers an opportunity to meet face to face with parents and build relationships during this period.
Parent-teacher meetings also provide an opportunity for the teachers to share information regarding the school budget and administrative process. In most schools, each principal will make a one time visit to the school at least once during the year. This allows the principals an opportunity to see first hand what the school is all about. They can learn about the teachers’ strengths, and weaknesses, as well as the direction the school is going in. The more they know about the school, the more effective they will be as teachers.
In most schools, the meetings are usually held during the morning or afternoon. If possible, the meeting should be held at the beginning of the day so the teachers’ and parents’ attention span are not limited. If the meeting is held at the end of the day, parents can decide whether to attend or not. If a parent cannot attend the meeting, they can send their children to a sitter or send a note home with their children. A template with the calendar and time of the meeting is helpful. It can be used to make sure the entire staff is present and ready to go when the meeting begins.
There is no need to feel overwhelmed or guilty if you do not attend every meeting. The template is a great way for the staff to bond with the other teachers. The template can also be used if the parent-teacher conference is to happen on a frequently scheduled basis. For example, it can be used to keep the budget updated and to plan out upcoming activities. No matter what, the template is a great way for the parent-teacher conference to be a successful event.
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