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Parent Teacher Conferences Done Right

Finally. I've only been going to parent teacher conferences for oh, about 22 years. No, that's not an exaggeration. But I guess for this post I'm not really talking about elementary school conferences. Those are a little less maintenance on the part of the parent. But starting in junior high and all the way through high school, it's a crazy mess.

At our schools the teachers will all be in the gym at tables alphabetically. In the past I've always just printed off my student's grades and gone to each teacher with that. That's great but unless you have a plan of attack you are doomed for hours of sorting through your class papers you pre-printed, looking for the next teacher and waiting to talk to that teacher. Then you rifle through your papers and start all over. And heaven forbid you have more than one student in jr high or high school. By the end of that school visit you are frazzled and can't remember what any of the teachers have said about your student and you have a handful of rumpled papers that may or may not have your scribbled notes. It's a mess.

So after years of that, I finally organized myself this year. And now I share with you.

I made a form that has room for 3 classes or subjects per page. You can download it for free here.

  • Print off as many as you need and cut them.

  • Then fill out one form for each teacher/class/subject. (I have 2 high schoolers so I had a number of teachers to see. I just wrote the students initial at the top so I knew which child had that class. But you could color code them by printing one student or school on yellow and the other one on blue for example.)

  • Note things you want to discuss with that teacher in the box on the left and write any questions you have about future things in the box on the right. (I find it useful to talk to teachers, particularly math teachers, about what class to sign them up for the next year especially when you are talking AP classes and heading them into college. Teachers have a wealth of knowledge and don't always have the time to share voluntarily. You don't ask; they don't tell.)

  • Alphabetize and staple them together into a little booklet. Obviously 2 booklets if you are going to 2 different schools.

  • As you visit with a teacher fold it in half and then move to the next teacher. (As you can see, I never talked to the conditioning coach. And I missed another teacher before him. This makes it real easy to see who you skipped in the case of a long line.)

It also makes it real easy to come home and discuss everything with your child. I hope you find this as helpful as I have.

Bonus idea: I keep a list of teachers and our experience with them whether that it's good, bad or ugly. This is super helpful when registering younger kids.

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