We all have to do at least one conference with parents throughout the school year! I am going to share with you exactly how I run my conferences and tips to make them easier!
Plus…there are tons of freebies!
Sign-Ups and Reminders
If you have control over your sign-ups, then I highly suggest you spread your conference times out. Give yourself breathers when you can.
At my school, we have two nights of conferences. I will schedule as many as I can in the mornings if parents need them. This way I don’t have to push out 12 plus conferences in one night. It is exhausting!
Send more than one reminder home. I suggest sending a reminder two weeks before and then another the night before. There is nothing worse than a no show parent and trying to reschedule the conference time. If you send multiple reminders and they can’t make it they might let you know ahead of time! 🙂
Make sure you also send a conference questionnaire home. There are so many free ones on TpT, but this helps take out the extra time for parents to explain their thoughts. You can also digest and be prepared for what they are about to bring to the table before talking to them. Below is the freebie from TpT that I have used in the past.
What to Share at the Conference
- Start with something the child made! I have my students write a letter to their parents. In the letter, they include how they are doing this year, what their favorite parts of the year are, and what they want their parents to know. This is a GREAT segway into the conversation. It is cute and the parents always love it!
- I share a student self-reflection! This reflection allows the parents to see how the student thinks they are doing in school and then allows the conversation to lead the way. Grab the free student reflection I use here!
- Then, I go through my conference sheet. I spend some time creating these sheets so that my conferences can go smooth and quick. Plus, I won’t forget to say anything. I break my sheet down into a few categories (it is a FREEBIE at the end of this post).
- Academics- Here I write their strengths and areas of needed growth in academics. I do not break it down subject by subject because one that is too overwhelming and two I don’t have the time. So, I write where their strengths are and what areas they need to grow in. By starting with the strengths you are focusing on the positives first, which is excellent!
- Behavior- I break that down into the same two categories, strengths and areas of needed growth. Some students may not have an area of needed growth for behavior, but they all have a strength no matter what!
- What to work on at home- Parents really want to know exactly what they should be doing at home without questions. Tell them. Don’t make them guess.
- Extra Notes- This is where I might type out anything extra that I need to mention on the comments. If they mentioned anything on their questionnaire I will write that note here. Then, I leave some extra space to write in anything I need to during the actual conference.
- Test scores or any other mandated things to share– We have to share a few different test scores with our parents so I make sure to share them here.
- Make sure that all the information for each student is organized and ready to go. I put my stuff in a stack inside my student information binder. This binder will have all their test scores and important information in case I want to reference anything extra! Plus, I have a sheet where I can take notes for just that student inside the binder (find my free binder here).
- Have a sheet of paper next to you where you can write down to-dos. No matter what, you will leave conferences with emails you need to send, things you need to send home, files you need to find, etc. Keep it all on ONE sheet so that you can easily go through the to-dos the coming week.
- Always give parents the note from their child to start the conference. This way if you are coming from another conference you can quickly get out the new information while they are reading.
- Have something for parents to do while they are waiting. For me, I have them write a note to their child and leave it on their desks for the next day. Parents LOVE this.
- Put a sign on your door that says knock at your assigned time. This will make you stay on track and end conferences that are going too long.
- Don’t be afraid to ask parents for a second to go to the restroom, get a drink, eat a snack, etc. Parents understand and the conference goes smoother when all of that is done first.
- If a conference gets uncomfortable simply state, “Thank you so much for all this information. I am going to go through things and I would like to schedule another conference in a few weeks.” Then, digest the information they gave you and have another conference with possibly your principal too. Don’t get worked up and sit in an uncomfortable conference. It is okay to have to digest and come back.
- Spend some time beforehand to fill in the FREE sheet I am going to give you below. It truly will help your conferences run smoothly and it helps make sure you say exactly what you need to say.
Okay, do you want the freebie now?!
Put your email below and the free EDITABLE sheet will be sent to you!