Parent-Teacher Conference Pointers

Melissa Kossler Dutton

Many schools hold parent-teacher conferences in October. If you do a little homework before meeting with your child’s teacher, it’s likely the encounter will be more productive.

Bring a list of a few questions or notes of things you’d like to discuss, the National Education Association suggests. Teachers want to discuss your child and are even OK with tough questions. Do be respectful, though, and don’t run into the next parent’s block of time. Your child’s teacher might be willing to schedule a follow-up meeting if you have serious concerns.

Remember, conferences are also a time to talk about children’s emotional development, so consider asking about their social habits or ability to connect with classmates. These meetings are a time for engaging in a “frank conversation,” educational experts say.

A few key questions include:

• What are the expectations for homework?

• Is my child properly motivated?

• Does he or she stay focused?

• How can I support my child’s schoolwork at home?

• What are the areas in which he or she needs to improve?

• Does he or she interact and play well with others?

For additional reading and questions, go to, and