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Meeting with your child’s teacher at school is often a routine event. Some schools today require all teachers to meet with parents as measure of good communication. These meetings are routine and a good idea.However, if you have a concern about any aspect of your child’s progress at school, don’t hesitate to request a conference. Follow these seven steps, and you'll be on your way to having a successful parent teacher conference filled with positive communication and viable solutions for everyone.
Don’t wait for the school to call you. Regardless of the problem your child is experiencing at school, you tilt the balance in your favor when you take the initiative to set the meeting. Remember, the one calling conference usually direct.
It’s easy for a conference to go off in too many directions. Clearly focus on the issues that make up the problem at school regarding your child.
Exactly what is the nature of the concern? Be specific, because the problem is specific. Usually, problems at school are behavioral (such as compliance concerns or getting along with other students) or academic. In some cases, problems are both behavioral and academic.
What is the “cost” of the current problem in terms what is happening now and how it will manifest in the future? What would happen if nothing were done to address this problem? If there is no significant downside, perhaps no action should be taken at all.
In establishing an action plan to address the problem, suggest that every person at the conference have a specific part in the plan (at least one action item) and is willing to be accountable for it.
The last thing everyone needs is another meeting, but this step is critical. A subsequent meeting should be held a few weeks later in order to assess the effectiveness of the interventions used, each person’s part in those interventions, and what changes should be made, if any.
Send a simple “Thank You” note or card to the teacher or school, thanking them for their time and input. This one step alone positions a parent very positively because so few parents ever think to do it.Although a nationally recognized child and adolescent psychologist, author, and speaker, Dr. James Sutton deeply values his first calling as a public school teacher. Today he is in demand for his expertise on emotionally and behaviorally troubled youngsters, and his skill for sharing it. Dr. Sutton is the founder and host of The Changing Behavior Network, a popular internet radio program supporting young people and their families, and every month he publishes The Changing Behavior Digest, offering tips on managing difficult children and teens. Both resources (and others) are available at no cost through his website, DocSpeak.com.
50 Ascan Ave.
Forest Hills, NY 11375
39-76 58th St.
Woodside, NY 11377
3095 Purchase St
Purchase, NY 10577
Dr. James Sutton
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