parent teacher conference

Parent Teacher Conferences In High School

If your school holds parent teacher conferences, they will be coming up soon I bet! For many teachers, they can be anxiety producing. Things that may pop into your head include:

-What do I talk about?

-How do I fill up the time so there’s no awkward silence?

-What if the student isn’t doing well?

Here are some tips to help you navigate the Parent Teacher Conference!

Parent Teacher Conferences Template

The first tip I can offer is to have a template for how to navigate the conversation at your parent teacher conferences. Sign up for my free resource library if you want to download it for free! It contains an outline of a conversation you could have with any parent or guardian and suggestions for how to personalize for each student (even when they’re not doing too well!)

How To Start a Parent Teacher Conference

I do my very best to start to conference with something nice to say about the student! Even if the child in question has not been doing well, find something personal or positive to say. For example, “Thomas adds a lot of energy to our class!” or “I look forward to seeing Brittany’s artwork”. It doesn’t have to relate to Spanish!

Put parents and guardians at ease by letting them know that you see their child as an individual.

Talk About Our 4 Skills

Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking are the 4 skills we develop over time and across years. I have a lot of parents ask me when their child will become “fluent”. It’s fun (at least for me) to explain how language develops. I make comparisons to babies learning language, I explain how much time and exposure students need to develop vocabulary. This is my favorite thing to “nerd out” about!

Keep your explanations simple and relevant, and avoid too much teacher jargon. Being able to explain language development to parents positions you as an expert in your field (which you are!) and as a confident professional.

Areas of Growth

Another topic you may want to cover, regardless of how well or how poorly a student is doing in your class, is their areas of growth. What is the next benchmark for this student?

For students who are excelling, talk about what the next level of proficiency looks like!

If a student is not doing well, you may want to talk about really basic things, like improving classwork completion, attendance or subject pronoun recognition.

Most of our students will fall in between, and there are lots of goals we can talk about for those students. Have you grabbed my quarterly goal-setting sheets? If not, check them out in my free resource library! There are lots of specific goals that students can choose from. If the student is present at the conference, you may have him/her/they talk about what goal they chose and how they are progressing towards it!

Offer parents a handout that explains the ways they can help their child be successful. Don’t have one? I do! It’s in my free resource library! Click the button below!

Involve The Student

I find that many times, the student is present with the parent. When this happens, I involve the student as much as possible. If the conference is in person, I will have the student’s folder of graded assessments with me and ready. We can pull out an assessment, and I will ask the student to walk the parent through what they are looking at. I ask the guiding questions, so the student knows what to focus on. Parents and guardians love to see their child’s work! At the high school level, almost no student work goes home, so it’s a great time to showcase what we do all day!!

Parent Teacher Conference Vibe

At the end of the day (or conference!), parents and guardians want to know that the teachers care about their child. No matter how hard-working or lazy, how outgoing or shy, or how behaved or…. energetic… parents love their children fiercely and want nothing more for the rest of the world to see their goodness.

Make sure your parents and guardians leave your parent teacher conference knowing that their child is seen and cared for. Let them know that you are working hard to help them grow and develop.

Conclusions

Though I don’t always look forward to the hours of talking after I’ve finished a school day, and though I sometimes feel annoyed about missing my own family time while I’m at night conferences, I can honestly say this:

I always leave parent teacher conferences feeling good about my career. What we do, teachers, really matters. We have the pleasure and great responsibility of truly impacting our students’ lives. Teaching is no walk in the park, but it can be so very rewarding!

I hope you have wonderful experiences with your conferences!

Resources

Free Resource Library (find the conference template, goal setting documents and parent tips here!)

Spanish Verb Tenses Project: Present, Past and Future (a self-directed activity so you can get ready for conferences!)

Spanish Class Parent Engagement Docs: Start the Year With Parents On Your Side!

Open House Night Presentation for Spanish Classes: Interactive Google Slides

Get Parents Involved in Spanish Class!

Parent Night in Spanish Class: Make it Great!

parent teacher conference
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