7 Tips To An Effective Parent-Teacher Conference


“We’re going to be meeting with your teacher” can be the scariest eight words in child’s life.  This past week it was time for a conference with her History teacher, Mr. Hanenburg.

Here’s a little background on Mr. Hanenburg after watching him for a couple of years.  He’s about my age and seems like a nice man.  As a 5th grader, my daughter served under him in Safety Patrol – a program for young leaders who work the car line where younger students are dropped off for school.  They learn commitment, discipline, service, teamwork, and social skills.  The kids really like and respect him.   Therefore, I was very optimistic about this being a productive time of developing a plan for my daughter’s improvement.

It was a GREAT meeting!  As a template for all parents and teachers who will be having conferences in the future, I want to share my experience as well as some tips to potentially make these sessions less stressful and more productive for you.

  1. Attitude – My wife and I believe we are in partnership with the teachers.  We do not view them as “working for us” or our adversary.  Our view is that our daughter is uniquely crafted by God and work with our educational system to assist her in growing in wisdom as well as stature.  The goal in our Parent-Teacher conferences is to collectively determine the best way to accomplish that purpose.
  2. Gratefulness – We started our time with Mr. Hanenburg by thanking him for his investment in our daughter’s life.  We thanked him for leading her in Safety Patrol and the commitment he has made as a teacher.  It is important that as a parent you honestly believe this.  If you don’t, it will show.
  3. Establish A Baseline – Our daughter had a “C”.  We want this to improve.  That is the objective of the conference.  It is not to assess blame. 
  4. Environmental Assessment – We asked Mr. Hanenburg to tell us what he sees in our daughter that may be creating the academic difficulties.  In addition, we shared what our daughter told us about what she feels is going on during class.  Through this open dialogue, I have discovered that reasonable people can find quality solutions.
  5. Teaching Style – I was very interested in how Mr. Hanenburg taught.  What was his style?  What was important to him?  How did he think the students should be taking notes?  How much of the class was lecture and what came from the textbooks?  How were his tests developed and structured?  To no one’s surprise, he was more than willing to give me plenty of insights into each of those questions.  He wants our daughter to succeed as much as we do.  That’s partnership!
  6. Prayer – I closed the conference with my wife and I praying for him.  I asked God to make him successful (all men want this in their professions).  I thanked God for his commitment to the next generation and our children.  I asked God to give him increased wisdom, skill, and creativity.  Finally, I asked God to make the rest of this year the best teaching experience of his career.
  7. Follow-Up – I then took my daughter to lunch and went over ALL the details of the conference.  We also talked about how we, as her parents, would be involved strategically in the areas we discussed throughout the remainder of the year.

I was reminded today of the incredible work ethic, passion, skill, and generosity of our educators.  They are true leaders.  If you’re a teacher, thank you for all you do.  And Mr. Hanenburg, thank you again for your role in how God is shaping our daughter.

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.


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