Your Middleschooler: Make Your Parent-Teacher Conference Count
It’s that time of the year again. Suddenly those lazy, hazy days of summer are gone and you find yourself alongside the other frenzied parents sorting through notebooks and supplies that fill your child’s supply list. For the parent of a middleschooler, those supply lists have changed considerably. Gone are the glue and crayons, replaced by the newest needs of the technologically inclined world we live in: graphing calculators, tablets and more. Thankfully, some things don’t change and technology can’t replace the one thing that can help your child have a successful year:the parent-teacher conference.
Getting Off to a Good Start
Many middle schools hold their parent-teacher conferences at the near the beginning of the year, giving parents a chance to see their child’s daily environment and meet their teachers. This is often a parent’s only chance to really get a feel for the middle school, as the daily contact of the elementary years changes dramatically with the start of middle school. The parent-teacher conference is a first step toward cooperation between you and your child’s teachers.
Keep Track of Your Middleschooler’s Work
Prior to the conference, you may want to keep a folder about your middleschooler with work samples, any notes from teachers and any tests results you have. This will give you a good foundation and idea of how your child is doing in his/her classes.
Most importantly, ask your child about school.
It’s important to be aware of what his/her favorite subjects are, what his/her troublesome subjects are, how he/she feels about his/her teachers and who his/her friends are. Many parent-teacher conferences involve the parent being given an “assignment” by filling out a paper telling the teacher about their child.
This will help your child’s teachers get to know your child’s strengths, weaknesses, hobbies or any important matters going on in your child’s life. In addition to talking to your child, a parent should write down any questions they have for their child to make the most of the parent-teacher conference.
Make a Positive Impression
When you arrive at the conference, offer a positive impression to the teachers. Walk in with a smile and be on time as middleschool parent-teacher conferences are very time constricted and there are often more students than at the elementary level.
Be attentive to what the teachers are saying and feel free to ask questions when unsure of anything. Asking open-ended questions about your child’s academic progress, social relationships and behavior will open the way to a more in depth conversation with teachers.
This will also help you in developing an action plan with the teachers to help your child succeed in the new school year. Ask what you can do at home to reinforce what your child’s teacher will be doing at school and plan to follow up with the teachers at regular intervals.
Plan the Way Forward
There’s no better way to keep your child at the forefront of your teacher’s attention than to write or email their teachers a thank you note, thanking them for their time and suggestions. Discuss the conference with your middleschooler and explain the plan you and their teachers have come up with in order to make this a great year for them. Lastly, and most importantly, put the plan into action: monitor homework, check up on classwork and stay in touch with both the teachers and your child!!
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