Monday, April 2, 2018

Two Quick Tips for Successful Conferences

With spring comes warm weather, student restlessness, and the potential for stressful conferences with parents or guardians to discuss problems that may have been simmering all year. Whether the problems are academic, behavioral, or a combination of both, productive conferences can be powerful ways to resolve issues as the academic year moves towards a close.

Here are two simple ways to ensure that the conferences you will have this spring are positive and productive.

1. Never surprise a parent or guardian with unpleasant news during a conference. By the time a face-to-face meeting is necessary, be sure to have made several phone calls home, sent emails, and contacted counselors, administrators, and other appropriate staff support personnel in an attempt to resolve the situations that are keeping students from being successful. Document those efforts and take that documentation with you to the conference to indicate that you have done all that a professional educator should do in advance of a conference. Ideally, a conference should just be the final step in creating a solution.

2. During the conference itself, allow parents or guardians to speak first. Allow them plenty of time to express their concerns and opinions. Listen attentively. Until parents or guardians have had the opportunity to say everything they need to say, then--and only then--can they listen to you or work on a solution. Listening respectfully to the concerns of parents or guardians signals that you are willing to work together with them and that you value their insights.

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