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Thank you for this article! I

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Thank you for this article! I have several conferences coming up on Veteran's Day. Then, Tuesday and Wednesday, I get to be the parent at the parent-teacher conferences. I just started teaching and am nervous. I am hoping that these tips will make me feel more prepared.

PreKindergarten Teacher

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Thank you Elena for this incredibly useful post. I feel that many times educational bloggers post things that are enjoyable to read but may not necessarily apply to one's classroom. This post, on the other hand, seems to be beneficial to all teachers across all grade levels. I was a PreK teacher for two years, and I must say, when I first entered teaching, I had no clue how to do parent-teacher conferences! It would have been nice to have something like your blog to use as a reference! I love how you view the parent-teacher relationship as a partnership where one child is highly valued between the two parties. I was at first intimidated to work with the parents, but I gradually realized that if I used cute anecdotes, showed pre-chosen work samples, and expressed my deep concern and love for their child, everything would turn out just fine. I enjoyed reading that you also emphasized those important points. I always heard that for every negative you need to say about a child, to sandwich it between 3-4 positive comments. I am not a parent yet, but it seems that parents just want confirmation that the teacher cares for their child as much as they do. Thank you for giving me a good resource for future conferences.

Special Education teacher from Dublin, Ga.

This is my first year in the

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This is my first year in the classroom as a teacher. I am grateful for the advice here as I have 2 IEP meetings scheduled over the next 2 weeks. Thanks for the great advice.

I have six parent teacher

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I have six parent teacher conferences on Friday, thanks for the post!!

UNCW Graduate Student. Elementary Teacher

Thanks for the great article

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Thanks for the great article Elena! I went into Grad School right after my Undergrad so the only taste I have had so far is my student teaching but come August I will finally begin my teaching career and it is aticles like this that give me confidence and a sense of guidance for my upcoming first year of teaching.

Retired Teacher, Substitute Teacher, Brookline, MA

Elena, Your article is

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Elena,
Your article is thorough and contains useful information! I always found that whatever information I needed to impart about a child, (both strengths and weaknesses), as long as I had specific materials to show the parents backing up my comments, my information was heard. Notebooks - Science Notebooks, Reading Notebooks, Writing Journals, also showed the progress the child was making when I showed the parents their early September work compared with their November work. It is really important to have the most important and "scary" conferences before the others. There are some conferences that need to be had before conferences even start. No parents like to be "surprised" by information that you need to tell them about their child. Weekly or bi-weekly conferences might be necessary to quell a parents' concerns and work as a team to help the child.

Educator, Consultant, ADE , ClassTechTips.com

I had parent teacher

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I had parent teacher conferences last week and it was nice to know that I had information on behavior at my finger tips: http://wp.me/p2qsME-4k

Phone calls

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Excellent article, Elena! Thanks for some good input, reminders and tips!
I just wanted to add that another thing which could help parent-teacher conferences is building a relationship with parents before the actual conference. When I first started teaching, my mentor encouraged me to make positive phone calls home right at the beginning of the year. I kept a notebook with each of my students' information sheets in it, and then documented phone calls on the back of these, trying to call about 3-5 parents a day. I would introduce myself, tell them I was -----'s French teacher, and either praise something about the child, or just tell them that I was looking forward to a good year and ask them if they had any input or advice for me concerning their child. Parents were surprised and pleased to hear from me, and this prior contact before the conferences put both parties at ease during the actual meeting. Like Elena said, parents can be our strongest allies in helping educate their children, so building that positive relationship with them can be very effective. This is especially true if there are issues that come up during the year when that support is needed.

Teacher, Writer, and Artist

SLEEP OVER

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Parent-teacher-student conferences are tomorrow and Friday. There’s a vibe in the air, no doubt about it. You can feel it and if you could see the vibe it would look like plague of locusts.

In my classes today I went around and asked each of them what they’d like for me to say to their parents.

What would you like me to say to your parents about you? That’s a classic calling of their bluffs. I was really trying to be funny … I’ve got to state the facts, facts, facts tomorrow and Friday … praise and concerns, I said … but they were so stunned that no one came up with anything for a long time.

Dexter, smiling as if he had just been tossed the wiggly chicken, finally said for me to tell his parents that he’s still sleeping in class a lot!

He has. For the last month. I finally poured cold water down the back of his neck this week while he was dreaming about algebra. He took it like a man. He really did, waking up with everybody laughing and pointing at him. He said he was sorry. But his in-class comas are getting old and distracting to his mates who want to give Georgia history a try. All of your other teachers are tired of it, too. So I told Dexter, with a wink, that your parents already know. Believe me. Your parents know.

Dexter giggled for a while … but it was a nervous giggle that morphed into an expression of wide-awake silent horror. The kind of expression that convinced me of something: that when Dexter gets home this afternoon he knows he’s got a whole lot of pre-conference campaigning to do.

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