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Parental Involvement        < Previous        Next >

 

Magic Words at Parent-Teacher Conferences

 

Q. I get tongue-tied at one-on-one meetings with teachers. They intimidate me, even though I'm a college graduate, too. Sometimes I leave a conference not really feeling as though I connected at all with the teacher, and other times, I get the feeling that I offended the teacher somehow, but am not sure how. Help me get my ideas across better!

 

You have to make the most of your time at parent-teacher conferences. Effective communication techniques will help you:

 

         learn the most about your child's progress in a short amount of time

 

         get your points across

 

         help you advocate for your child

 

         and show the teacher you're a supporter and a friend.

 

Go over this list and try to use some of the words, phrases and questions at your conference:

 

What can I do for you?

 

I want to help

 

Cooperate

 

How can I make it easier?

 

I don't understand

 

Can you give me a couple of examples?

 

Let's put our heads together

 

Innovate

 

Adapt

 

On the other hand, here are some no-no words and phrases NOT to say because they might make the teacher defensive and interfere with your goals of maximizing your child's learning experience:

 

Bored

 

Compel

 

Forced

 

Incompetent

 

Intolerant

 

Mistaken

 

Punish

 

Unreasonable

 

Do your job

 

You don't understand my child

 

You're doing it wrong

 

You're not doing enough

 

Come to the conference resolved to follow the 80/20 rule: you should be listening for 80 percent of the time, and talking for just 20 percent. Good listeners learn the most, and teachers learn a lot about a child if the parents are good listeners, not blabbermouths who monopolize the conversation.

 

One last thing: if things are NOT going 100 percent great at school for your child, and you have some concerns to share, bring a male to the conference. Your husband and the father of the child is best. But if that's not possible, bring a brother or a grandfather or a friend or a coach. Why? Because educators are impressed when men get involved, and children tend to get their needs met when significant men in their lives are involved. In some school settings, it's a downright novelty. It's a sad commentary on sexism in our society, but it's really true.

 

So BYOB . . . Bring Your Own Boy. :>)

 

Homework: See the chapter, "Building a Working Relationship With Teachers," in the book, Helping Your Child Succeed in Public School by Cheri Fuller.

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.ShowandTellforParents.com Parental Involvement 19 2008

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