How to handle a bad parent teacher conference


How to handle a tough parent-teacher meeting

  • Take a breath.
    If the teacher focuses on issues your child is having at school, before responding, take a breath and…
  • Be clear.
    If you are coming to the teacher with a problem you’re concerned about, try to be as clear as possible. Some…
  • Give the teacher helpful information.
    No one knows your kid better than you do. If…

10 tips for conveying bad news in a parent-teacher conference
  1. Choose the time and place carefully so you’re both in the right mindset. …
  2. Don’t get down to business right away: Get comfortable with one another first. …
  3. Share something you love about the student. …
  4. Give the parent a chance to raise his or her concerns first.
Apr 3, 2016


Is the parent-teacher conference stressful?

The parent-teacher conference can be a stressful time for both parents and teachers – even more so if your child possibly has a problem. This article offers strategies for getting the most out of the conference, and also includes stories from veteran teachers of successful (and not-so-successful) parent-teacher conferences.

What are the best practices for Parent-Teacher Conferences?

Teachers must be active listeners in any parent-teacher conference but taking notes is also important. During a conference, maintain eye contact and open body language. Parents should be allowed to speak without interruption and feel that they are being heard. After a meeting has concluded, jot down important takeaways so that you don’t forget.

How do you respond to unexpected news at a parent-teacher conference?

Here are some ways to respond when the parent-teacher conference includes some unexpected news, as suggested by the National PTA: Avoid angry or apologetic reactions. Instead, ask for examples. Ask what is being done about the problem and what strategies seem to help at school.

Do Parent-Teacher meetings work?

There are the parents who push back on any critique, the ones who don’t understand how to help, and the ones who never show. The meetings aren’t that much easier for parents, who rush to squeeze them in on a workday or feel the teacher isn’t understanding their child. But parent-teacher meetings can be productive.


How do you deal with a difficult parent teacher conference?

7 Tips for Teachers on Dealing with Difficult ParentsNo Surprises. … Meet Face-to-Face with Parents. … Alert Your Principal or Department Chair to the Situation. … Listen and Ask Questions. … Try to Find Things You Agree On. … Don’t Allow Yourself to Be Pressured. … Know When the Conversation Is Over.

What do you do after a bad parent teacher conference?

Address the problem Avoid angry or apologetic reactions. Instead, ask for examples. Ask what is being done about the problem and what strategies seem to help at school. Develop an action plan that may include steps that parents can take at home and steps the teacher will take at school.

What should you not say at a parent teacher conference?

10 Things Not to Say at a Parent Teacher Conference“We don’t read at home.”“I have to help him with everything.” … “He doesn’t like school.” … “He doesn’t do well with a _____ teacher.” … “All you have to do is just call me.” … “He never acts this way at home.” … “I always believe my child.” … “There’s nothing else I can do.” … More items…•

How do you handle an angry parent conference?

10 Tips for Meeting with Challenging ParentsMake a connection early. … Continue with open communication. … If a parent is angry, don’t ignore it. … Don’t make promises. … Be careful what you put in writing. … Come to meetings prepared. … Show you care. … Don’t get defensive.More items…•

Why do parents fear parent teacher conferences?

Some parents fear that they will be judged and.or criticized by the teacher – subtly or overtly – for not doing enough to assist their child academically or behaviorally. And if there is a difference of opinion patents fear that the teacher may take it out on their child in some way.

What should teachers do to effectively deal with unplanned parent conferences?

What should teachers do to effectively deal with unplanned parent conferences? Listen to the parents until they are finished talking. What does it mean to listen effectively? Listening for the real content and feelings in a person’s message and restating the message to assure you understand.

What do parents want to hear parent-teacher conferences?

Be sure to explain any terms, curriculum titles, or even words on progress reports that aren’t commonly used outside the school setting. Ask questions and listen. Ask parents or guardians for their input about students’ strengths, needs, and learning styles, as well as their hopes and dreams for their children.

What do teachers talk about at parent-teacher conferences?

Good parent–teacher conferences focus on how well the child is doing in school. They also talk about how the child can do even better. To get ready for the conversation, look at your child’s homework, tests, and notices before the conference. Be sure to bring a list of questions that you would like to ask the teacher.

What should I say at parent-teacher conferences examples?

When planning what to say at parent teacher conferences, prepare a way to end on a positive note. You could tell why you love having the child in your class, highlight an overall strength, or a special connection you have with the child. Here’s what it might sound like: It’s so fun having Toby in my class!

How do you de escalate an angry parent?

You can handle angry parents by following these suggestions:Listen and Agree. Allow them the opportunity to vent without interruption. … Categorize. … Empathize. … Take Responsibility and Apologize. … Let Them Know You’re Going to Fix It. … Follow Up. … Additional Valuable Tips. … Continue Reading.

How do teachers handle conflict with parents?

Parent-Teacher Conflict Management: Tips for a Speedy ResolutionAlways Listen to the Parent. Even if you don’t agree with what the parent is saying, your first step is always to listen. … Get Advice from Other Teachers. … Involve Your Administration When Necessary.

How do you handle parent complaints?

Here’s how in three steps:Be friendly. No matter how irritated or upset a parent behaves, it’s never a good idea to respond in kind. You’ll only make things worse. … Listen. Give the parent as much time as they need to express their feelings. … Give it to them straight. The most effective response is direct and honest.

What are the do’s and don’ts in planning and implementing parents teacher conference?

The Do’s and Don’ts of Parent-Teacher ConferencesDo start with a positive about their child. … Don’t forget that it’s a team effort. … Do share an example of a student’s reflection during the conference. … Don’t arrive unprepared. … Do give examples of what language you use at school and your expectations.More items…•

What are some communication do’s and don’ts when communicating with parents?

Dos and Don’ts of Communicating with FamiliesBe specific. … Share the good things. … Share bad news personally, not in a note. … Make copies of what you send home. … Use a simple good day / bad day system. … Avoid telling families bad news. … Respond only when the family asks for something. … Expect families to share everything with you.

How is professionalism manifested when a parent complains to a teacher for her son’s failing grade?

Answer: Professionalism is manifested when a parent complains to a teacher for her son’s failing grades when a teacher even if the parent comes ready to heat up an argument is accommodating and calm.

What are two things that contribute to a successful parent-teacher conference?

15 Tips for Leading Productive Parent-Teacher ConferencesOffer a flexible conference schedule. … Prepare, prepare, prepare. … Arrange for a translator if needed, and find a way to connect. … Be aware of your body language. … Sit side-by-side. … Share real stories and student work. … Include the positive. … Create clear goals.More items…

What is the biggest mistake in parenting?

Remember that your child is far more than the sum of your parenting skills. “The biggest mistake is overreacting before listening to all the information,” says Dr. Andrea Canter, a nationally certified school psychologist who worked 30 years for the Minneapolis school district.

Why aren’t children being identified quickly?

Children aren’t being identified quickly because there is an assumption that the problem is the language barrier.”. Separating the impact of language differences from that of a learning disability can be tricky, even for professionals. “A lot of parents are in denial, which makes it even more difficult,” says Driessen.

Who is Susan Driessen?

Susan Driessen is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in the South Brunswick, New Jersey school district. She often joins the classroom teacher for a parent conference when there are concerns about a child’s performance.

Do teachers make mistakes?

While teachers may not have enough information to figure out why a student is having problems, they can usually make accurate comparisons with classroom standards and other students, and their concerns should be taken seriously. “Teachers do make mistakes sometimes,” says Canter, “but it is really important that teachers and parents see themselves as collaborators and not adversaries.”

Is South Brunswick a melting pot?

South Brunswick is part of greater New York’s ethnic melting pot, with students from all over the world who speak myriad languages. Often a child enters the school system without knowing any English at all. “It used to be that foreign children were over-identified as having academic problems,” says Driessen. “But now I think it’s the opposite. Children aren’t being identified quickly because there is an assumption that the problem is the language barrier.”

Who is Laurie Fry?

Laurie Fry is a national education writer for Reading Rockets.

Who is Judy’s teacher?

Judy’s colleague, third grade teacher Laura Fender, comes to difficult conferences armed with examples. “I bring copies of other children’s work – with the names blacked out, of course,” she says. “I want the parents to see how their child’s work compares with others in the class.

3. Share something you love about the student

I like to start off every conference — but difficult conferences in particular — with an anecdote about something charming, funny, or cute the child has said recently. The more the anecdote shows that you understand the child’s personality and appreciate him or her as an individual, the more receptive the parent will feel toward what you say next.

4. Give the parent a chance to raise his or her concerns first

Many times parents have a pretty good idea about why you requested the conference, and letting them bring up the elephant in the room allows you to hear the family’s take before sharing your side. Simply say, “I’m so glad you came into today.

6. Be gentle and factual when sharing problems

It’s important not to delve too much into your personal opinion and try to share just the objective facts about what you’ve observed. “He’s disruptive in class” is an opinion which can set a parent on edge.

9. Plan follow-up meetings before the conference ends

If you are worried that you won’t be able to get the parent back in for another conference, try to set the next meeting date before the current conference is over. Say, “I’m going to start implementing the changes we talked about today. Can we pick a time about a month from now to go over the results?”

10. Be generous with your kind words in the weeks that follow

The parent is likely to be hyper-sensitive to everything you say and do after a tough parent-teacher conference, so watch the comments you make on the child’s graded work that’s sent home. Pass along as much positive feedback as possible and double up on the encouragement and praise.

BONUS TIP: Consider whether the student should be the bearer of bad news

I remember being incredibly anxious about one particular conference because my co-teacher and I were going to have to tell a parent that her child was in danger of being retained. I had no idea how we were going to diplomatically convey that the child was failing because he was essentially being lazy and wasn’t putting forth any effort in his work.

What to do when your teacher is focusing on your child?

If the teacher focuses on issues your child is having at school, before responding, take a breath and simply listen. No parent likes to hear negative things about their child — whether it’s bad behavior in class or a possible learning problem (such as difficulty with reading, writing, or math).

Does no one know your kid better than you?

No one knows your kid better than you do. If you’re worried that the teacher doesn’t get your child or is judging her unfairly, tell her whatever you can so that she better understands your child. (Click here for more information on what’s appropriate to share with the teacher.)

What is waiting for you at the end of an Oreo meeting?

No matter how badly the meeting goes, you’ll know that at the end an Oreo milkshake is waiting for you with open arms.

How to have a productive conference?

The most important thing you can do to try to have a productive, positive conference is preparation ahead of time. Have any email correspondence printed, have student work ready and organized, any other documentation that might help you—tutorials offered, tutorials attended, reminders given, work from other students in the same class. This prevents the “Well, I know I called/emailed/faxed you, but I can’t remember when …” excuse or the “Johnny told me that everyone else did what he did and got an A” game.

What is the driving factor for anger and ugly stuff?

The real driving factor for all of the anger and ugly stuff you’re seeing on the surface with parents who are unkind and unreasonable is love for their child and fear about his/her happiness and success. And that love, that fear, is something we can all understand and relate to.

Can teachers have parent conferences?

We’ve all been there. Even the most organized, hardest-working, unbelievably kind teachers can end up with parent conferences on their calendar that make them groan and look around for the nearest cafeteria spork to stab into their eyeballs. I’m not talking about the conferences with parents who call or send civilized emails with questions or comments instead of firing off accusations, or the parents who genuinely want help on how to reinforce what’s being taught at school. Any teacher should be happy to communicate with them.

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How often does Holt send home data?

Holt has found it helpful to share student data with parents regularly, not just at a conference or meeting. Every three weeks, she sends home data folders containing printouts about specific skills students are tested on, graphs showing how each student performed, and descriptions explaining the assessment data and any confusing terminology used to explain it.

What is Design 39?

At Design 39 Campus, a K–8 public school in San Diego, conferences and quick exchanges with teachers proved insufficient for parents to feel confident to support their children’s academic growth at home. In response, the school established parent workshops in which teachers invite parents into the classroom during the school day. Students share their work with their parents for the first half hour, and then teachers give a 30-minute presentation just for parents that builds on the work students are doing in school. Afterward, teachers provide related resources—games, websites, readings—that families can take home to use with their children.

How to avoid the feedback sandwich?

Hirsch recommends avoiding the “feedback sandwich” and instead following a framework of context, observations, emotions, value, and input. First, name the context—the time and place—where the problem occurs, like during small-group interactions. Next, share specific and objective observations about what happened. Then describe how the student’s actions impact others emotionally and why that matters. Lastly, ask parents for input on how the issue can be resolved productively, so you approach the problem as partners.

How often does Wildwood IB have student led conferences?

To help students take ownership of their learning and keep lines of communication open between school and home, Wildwood IB World Magnet School, a K–8 public school in Chicago, has student-led conferences twice a year. Students present a portfolio of work to their parents and teacher, and respond to reflection prompts like, “I have been successful at…” and “I still need help with….” The week before the conference, students spend 10 to 15 minutes a day learning about what makes a good student-led conference and practicing their presentations.

What is student led conference?

They use guided templates for creating the agenda, reflecting on how the meeting went, and making any needed changes by the follow-up meeting a few weeks later. In 11th grade, the student-led meetings are college and career focused. Students discuss their career interests and hopes for college, then create an action plan so they’re ready to apply.

What is 11th grade meeting?

In 11th grade, the student-led meetings are college and career focused. Students discuss their career interests and hopes for college, then create an action plan so they’re ready to apply. “School is not here to happen to students,” says Dan St. Louis, University Park’s principal. “They are an active participant.”.

How to help parents support their kids?

Solution: Helping parents support their kids can be as simple as giving parents a handout—or it can mean an overhaul of the traditional parent-teacher conference.

What should teachers have examples of student work available for reference at every parent-teacher conference?

Teachers should have examples of student work available for reference at every parent-teacher conference. Rubrics and teacher guides that outline grade-level expectations can also be helpful. Even for students performing at or above academic expectations, samples of work are a great way to show parents how their children are doing.

How to keep parents informed about school?

Don’t put yourself in a situation where parents become upset with you for not alerting them to problems sooner but don’t reach out to parents only about trouble either. Proactive and effective teachers always keep parents and guardians informed about what is happening in school.

Why should parents attend parent teacher conferences?

The common goal of all parent-teacher conferences is to benefit the students and both parties are valuable resources in accomplishing this . Parents should know what you will cover and what they should bring up during a conference so that time is not wasted coming up with things to say.

How often should schools hold conferences?

Most schools set aside time for these valuable conferences once or twice a year so that parents and teachers can meet to discuss student academic progress and goals for the year. Sometimes, however, a few minutes is not enough time to cover important topics.

What do parents and teachers want to talk about?

Parents and teachers may feel that there is a lot more to discuss than whether a student is meeting academic goals—many families also want to talk about social progress, accommodations and modifications for their child, behavior in and out of the classroom, and more.

Why should teachers position themselves close to parents?

Teachers should position themselves close to parents for comfort and engagement during conferences. Sitting behind a barrier such as a desk creates distance between you and makes it difficult to communicate.

What is the importance of communication between parents and teachers?

Updated October 08, 2019. Good communication between teachers and families is essential for student success. With multiple methods of communication available—including email, texts, and apps such as Remind —teachers have many choices about how they choose to communicate with parents and guardians.

Interest Over

Former teacher. First parent teacher conference. I put a lot of time into preparing this evening as an innocent 22 yo. I gave a ten minute speech to about fifteen family members, they didn’t seem to care at all. Then I met with each individually, and they were combative. Some stunk of alcohol. One straight up yelled at me for my grading system.

Truth Hurts

I mean, it wasn’t exactly a bad conference but one time the mother of a six-year-old second grader was pushing for her son to skip second grade and go to third grade. I tried pointing out that even though his reading and math skills were excellent, advancing him further would create a gap in his knowledge about science and social studies.

What are your thoughts?

I’m a school psychologist, not a teacher. But we still have lots of parent conferences. Worst one: spent a good half an hour explaining that I was diagnosing her son with autism and why. Everyone agrees, including the parent, and we move into developing his IEP.


The last conference of the day, the parent (a guy) started the meeting with saying “do you feel that? Do you feel nervous?” Implying a “connection” and nervously laughing. My wife felt super uncomfortable because he seemed to be coming on to her, and sharing personal details about his life.

5 Paragraphs In..

The one where a parent told me it was unreasonable to expect my sophomore US History students to write a five paragraph essay. She claimed she had expertise as she “used to be an English teacher.”

No Fudging…

I had a parent teacher conference where I basically got called a racist. The father was like, can’t you see my son is not like other kids, give him the benefit of the doubt (heavily indicating his race). This was after his son cheated on a test.

Speak Out

Generally speaking, the parents who see their children as an extension of themselves are the worst to conference with. The parents feel personally attacked when their child has a minor setback, and can’t imagine their child being anything less than they are. Collin_1000


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