By Carrie Brazeal, TSB Contributor
Can you believe that school will end in just a few weeks? Where has the year gone?
With all the end -of-school activities that will soon be happening, make sure that you take the time to schedule and attend a parent-teacher conference. While we usually think of conferences like this happening at the beginning of the school year, another needs to take place at the end of the year. You will want to discuss your child’s performance and what might need to happen over the summer break to keep your child on target for the upcoming school year.
Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension has these suggestions for a successful conference:
*Talk with your child before the conference. Allow him/her to give you some information about the teacher in his/her own words. Ask what he likes/dislikes about school and what he/she would like for you to talk about with teachers. Help your child understand that you and their teacher(s) are meeting together in order to help them. Let your child know that you will talk with him/her after the conference about what was discussed.
*Write down any information about your child that you want to pass along to the teacher like special talents, changes during the year, etc. Also include information about any changes that you expect to happen over the summer.
*Write down questions to ask about your child’s specific situation. How are my child’s work habits and behavior? What are my child’s strengths? What areas need improvement? What needs to be done during the summer to help make the start of the upcoming school year more successful?
*During the conference, listen to the teacher’s explanations regarding your child. Be sure to ask your important questions first just in case time runs out before you have a chance to discuss them all. Ask for explanations of things you do not understand. Ask to see examples of your child’s work.
*If the teacher reports that the child has no problems or you have nothing to worry about, be prepared to ask questions like “How can I help my child continue to make good progress in school?”
*Remember to thank the teacher for his/her time and dedication to your child.
*Following the conference, share with your child the information that you obtained. Stress the positive throughout your discussion. Talk about suggestions for improvement and help make a plan to carry out those suggestions. This might include locating summer enrichment programs or enrolling in a summer reading program at your local library.
*Set up a reasonable schedule so that your child can enjoy his summer break but still accomplish his/her school goals. My kids always knew that they would be reading and doing math during the summer. We agreed on a set number of pages to be read and number of pages of math to be done each week. Of course, I had to locate an appropriate math book, take them to the library to select books to read and monitor their progress each week but it was well worth it. This continued through middle school and really made a difference that first six weeks after school started again.
An end-of-school parent-teacher conference is just as important as the beginning of school conference. Invest the time. You will be glad that you did.
Carrie T. Brazeal is the County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972.548.4233 or metro 972.424.1460, Ext. 4233.