Magic Words at Parent-Teacher
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
You have to make the most of your time at parent-teacher
conferences. Effective communication techniques will help you:
the most about your child's progress in a short amount of time
your points across
you advocate for your child
show the teacher you're a supporter and a friend.
this list and try to use some of the words, phrases and questions at your
What can I do for you?
I want to help
How can I make it easier?
I don't understand
Can you give me a couple of
Let's put our heads together
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:
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
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. :>)
the chapter, "Building a Working Relationship With Teachers," in the book, Helping Your Child Succeed in Public School
by Cheri Fuller.