Both teachers and parents have homework to complete before entering into a conference with each other. Communicating and sharing information about a child’s progress, strengths, weaknesses, areas of concern, social-emotional and motor development must be handled professionally, calmly and in a manner that demonstrates sensitivity towards the parent as well as the student.
Teachers should gather and chronologically organize a cross section of work to share with the parent. He or she should be cognizant that the mom and or dad will be sensitive to the teacher’s comments and should always begin a session with a smile and a positive statement. The educator should share an anecdote so that the family understands that the teacher does indeed know and care about their child. When discussing skills, the teacher should speak in concrete terms, show examples and offer suggestions to improve or strengthen particular areas of development. As the teacher is concluding her/his review, it is important that the parent hear a positive thought about his/her child.
Now, some guidelines for parents. Please understand that most teachers truly do care about your child and that part of their responsibility as an educator is to communicate your child’s strengths, accomplishments, weaknesses, and areas of concern with you. Please listen, digest, and then ask for clarification or advise as to what can be done. Please note that educators should talk about behaviors, things that can be observed and or measured and so, do not ask them to share personal opinions or to make a diagnosis.
Parents and educators should not wait for “conference time” in order to discuss concerns, but rather, should email or phone each other as things come up. Parents and teachers must work cooperatively in order to work towards common goals for the children. Open, honest, and respectful communication is essential between all parties. Parents and educators should remember that they are working on the same team, the one that benefits each and every child.