What is a Parent Teacher Conference?

Parent teacher conference is a time when parents and teachers come together to discuss their student’s academic progress. It’s a chance to build a strong relationship between students and their teachers.

Often, these meetings are held once every two months or so and consist of a few minutes for parents to speak with their child’s teacher about their student’s performance in the classroom.


For teachers, parent teacher conferences can be an important time to discuss students’ academic achievements and areas for growth. They can also be a time to identify and address any behavioral or social issues that may affect a student’s learning.

It’s important for teachers to prepare for their meetings with parents in advance, as a well-prepared teacher can help maintain the flow of the conversation. The best way to do this is by sending home an outline or agenda for the conference, and letting parents know what to expect in advance.

Ideally, each conference should be an opportunity for teachers to provide positive feedback about their students’ academic achievements. It is not uncommon for teachers to use this time to discuss areas of concern, but be sure to provide parents with constructive feedback rather than sugar-coating it.


Parent teacher conferences are a time for teachers to share student progress reports and standardized test results, as well as address any concerns parents have. They also can be a time to hear about the challenges that families face at home and how the teacher can support them to meet learning milestones.

Be sure to prepare for your conference ahead of time, if possible. This will help you focus on the positive aspects of your students, instead of their problems.

Start with the positives before addressing the negatives, so you can establish a healthy relationship with families that will support your students in their learning.

During your conference, try to remain calm and respectful. Getting angry or upset is difficult to communicate, and it can negatively impact the conference.

Before the conference, gather input from your spouse, other care-giving adult, and others with relevant information or insight (a doctor, counselor, or other guardian). Then arrive to your conference prepared with specific questions or concerns you may have about your child’s learning and school work.


During conferences, teachers discuss students’ social and emotional development as well as academic issues. They may also talk about standardized test results, individualized education programs (IEPs), 504 plans, peer relationships and classroom behavior.

It is important to keep the focus on learning at all times. Don’t let the conversation get sidetracked, or you may lose sight of what is really important: supporting student progress and growth.

If the discussion gets too heated, or in any other negative way, end the conference and ask to reconvene at another time.

During a conference, it’s a good idea to provide parents with resources and ideas that support their child’s social and emotional development. Send home a list of the types of activities and materials that connect to your instruction and the kinds of skills their children are developing, such as public speaking, organization, self-reflection, long-term planning, and empathy.

Special Needs

If your child has special needs, you’ll want to find out how they are being helped. Often times schools use a response to intervention system, where students are grouped by areas of need to receive small group instruction regularly.

The parent teacher conference is a great time to discuss this information with the teachers, but you need to make sure you are clear about your concerns and expectations ahead of the meeting.

Whether your child has special needs or not, the goal of the parent teacher conference is to discuss their academic progress and growth as well as how their classroom behavior affects their learning. Begin the conversation by talking about positives, then move into challenges.

Students with special needs can feel uncomfortable expressing themselves in front of their parents. They may need extra help, and teachers can help by prepping them for their conferences with role-playing and practicing what they want to say. They can also build portfolios of work samples and assessments to take with them.

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