How To Have Productive Parent-Teacher Conversations

by Dr. Kyle Pruett, Goddard School Educational Advisory Board Member
Preschool teacher smiling with parents

You just received a note from your child‘s teacher with a wonderful image of the robot he built from recyclable materials. Wow! How creative! This may prompt you to wonder what he learned in that activity — did he learn science, engineering or math? How is he doing in school? Are things going well? If you want to schedule a parent-teacher conference or one is already coming up, here are a few suggestions to help you work in partnership with your child‘s teacher:  

  • Offer things about your child that you think would help their teacher to know: any recent family changes, something that your child says she or he likes or dislikes about school or things your child loves. This will help their teacher gain perspective on your child’s behavior and make any adjustments.  
  • Start with your most important questions. After pleasantries and getting to know your child’s teacher a bit, keep the focus on your child so that you can gain the most from your meeting.  
  • If their teacher shares a concern, try not to get defensive. You are both on the same side. Repeat the concern back to them to ensure that you heard it correctly. This gives you a moment to collect yourself emotionally if it’s a surprise. Ask what you both can do to help your child.  
  • Ask about friends. If you are concerned about friendships, ask whether your child seems close to or in conflict with any children in the classroom, then solve the problem together. Learning about your child’s friends can support the connection between school and home.  
  • Find out about strengths and challenges. Ask for their view of your child’s strengths and challenges, and then listen — calmly. Explore how you can help your child build on the strengths and ask what you can do to help your child overcome the challenges. 
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