Teacher Conferences: What Do You Get Out of Them?

Every year since my children were in preschool I have scheduled conferences with their respective teachers. In elementary school, fall conferences are for meeting the language arts teacher and spring conferences are for meeting the math teacher. Often I schedule conferences with both math and language arts if I feel there is an issue.

I generally leave the conference having learned at least one thing about my child…well, except for the 4th grade language arts teacher conference where the teacher said a few words about my daughter, showed me one piece of written work, and closed her folder. I was left speechless.

So, this year I am only meeting with the language arts teachers for my kindergartner and 5th grader. The reason is that my kindergartner is in a 1st grade math class…yes, all those days spent playing math preschool games and doing puzzles paid off (allow me a momentary Mommy brag!). He is happy in the class and is doing well. My 5th grader is a different story. She is in an on-grade level math class. She struggled at the beginning of the year, but lately has shown more class participation and is doing better on tests. It is hard to know what she does knows as she will get nervous during tests and underperform. I am trying to give her lots of positive feedback at home. I have had her do some math games on the PC and in her workbook–she is extremely willing to do extra work.

In middle school, conference scheduling is different. For a start, you are discouraged from scheduling a conference with all your child’s teachers unless there is a specific problem. My daughter has Reading, English, Social Studies, Science, Math, and French teachers. I did not think I needed to schedule with any of them. Her report card was great, except for math. I planned on scheduling with the math teacher, but two things happened: (1) I missed the deadline for signing up online and the school administration will not schedule if you miss the deadline and (2) my daughter in the last 2 weeks has not handed in 7 assignments. So, my perfect little bubble of “everything is hunky dory” burst. Why she did not hand in her assignments is a mystery…cluttered locker, disorganized binder? I am not sure. She knows she needs to hand in work that is complete or she will lose 50% of the grade if one day late.

So, I ask you…Do you find teacher conferences to be helpful? Useful? Necessary?

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