The Dreaded Parent-Teacher Conference

It’s back to school week. Then you turn around and it’s already time for the fall parent-teacher conference.

It’s hard to know who dreads the conference most. Parents? Teachers? Kids?

Does it have to be so bad? The Wall Street Journal describes efforts underway to improve the parent-teacher conference for all parties so that teachers can be less stressed, parents can get more (and more useful) information, and students don’t have to fear the post-conference dinner table.

On multiple fronts, there are now efforts under way to repair and improve how conferences are conducted. Researchers and consultants are touting new techniques to ease tensions. They’re focusing on how teachers should choose their words, where parents should sit in a classroom, how divorced couples should be accommodated, and how to avoid bruised feelings on both sides of what should be a “partnership.”

Some communities are trying unconventional approaches, such as asking students to lead the conferences or having parents and teachers meet at “neutral” locations, such as coffee shops and public libraries.

The article includes a list of 10 ways for parents to get the most out of the conference, covering everything from talking to your child before the conference to following up with emails. Definitely worth a look as we head into conference season.

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