For parents, parent-teacher conferences are a terrifying experience, even when their kids are doing well at school. Teachers usually have the upper hand in these meetings, which could account for the dread that many parents feel. It does not have to be that way, though. As a teacher, here are a few ways to help you improve the experience for the parents.
Offer a Flexible Schedule
Some parents have more than one student in the school. They might also be working multiple jobs or have demanding jobs or deadlines. Being flexible about the time that you could do the meeting will be a tremendous help to the parents of your students at GIIS Dubai. Given the pandemic, many might be working from home, taking care of the kids. They will usually leave early in the morning or late afternoons or even evenings free for them, so they might ask you to schedule the meeting during those times.
Prepare for the Conference
Keeping accurate records will make the process easier for you. When the parents ask about their kids, you want to make sure you can whip out the children’s test results and work samples. You may also share your anecdotal notes with the parents. If you think something is bothering the child, or if something is happening at school, inform the parents.
Ask About the Kids
Know the kids in your class. Ask their parents about them. If they’re not turning up as good a performance as you know they can, then is there a problem at home? By asking questions, you can learn more about what the kids in your class are going through. Factor that knowledge into your approach when you reach out to the kids or ask them how they’re doing. Some teachers automatically assume that when kids don’t pay attention in class, it’s because they’re misbehaving. But what might seem like disruptive behaviour might be nothing more than the child’s reaction to problems at home. Keeping that in mind will always allow you to find the right strategy when you talk to the child. With more information from their parents, you can adjust the way you reach out to and earn the trust of your students.
Manage Your Body Language
Your body language is one of the first things that the parents will see and notice about you. If your arms are crossed or if you’re rigid and frustrated, that could affect the atmosphere and the entire meeting. You wouldn’t want to convey any negativity through your body language, so be aware of it. You want to create a fun, welcoming, and positive mood for the conference. Also, if you’ve been through a ton of meetings, by the time you log into another online meeting, your posture might be stopped and your eyes glassy with exhaustion. Make sure you take the time—even for a few minutes—to freshen up or just take a break and exercise. That will help you up your energy for your next online parent-teacher conference. It wouldn’t hurt to study the different meanings for body language in every culture. Having a diverse student population means you’ll want to make sure you aren’t showing any non-verbal cues that might be taken as disrespectful or offensive by any of the parents. Some things are universal, though, like smiling and having a good open posture. A warm, sincere tone and a nice handshake will all help you connect to the parents.
Work to Build Partnership
Now more than ever, teachers and parents need to work together to provide the best educational experience possible for the kids. With the coronavirus changing the way the kids take their classes, many might be feeling isolated, anxious, and even depressed. It’s important that you establish the kind of relationship with the parents that lets them know they can ask you anything or turn to you for help if they think their children are having problems at school. Likewise, if you think something is wrong, if you see signs, let the parents know. By working together, both parties can provide the support and help that the kids need to get through whatever hurdles they might face, whether at home or school.
Keep Detailed Notes
Even with an excellent memory, you’ll forget things. That’s why it’s ideal to keep detailed notes on your interactions with every student. That way, when the parent-teacher conferences start, you can share those anecdotes with their parents. It’s a great way to give the parents insight into what’s happening during classes, what their kids do, how they are treated by their classmates, and so on. More than notes on their academic performance, the parents will appreciate knowing that you know the kids by their personalities, too. That tells them that you care.
Try out these tips. Put them into practice to improve your next parent-teacher engagement.