Successful Parent-Teacher Meetings

When I meet with a parent about a student, I like to have notes of what we discussed - for accountability, documentation, and to jog my memory when my brain feels like it's juggling 709,438 things :)

To help, I've created this quick and easy-to-use handout for taking notes during meetings with parents. It provides space for the date, the student name, recording who called the meeting (the parent or the teacher), the concerns presented, and a plan of action. It also allows the teacher to record the general atmosphere of the meeting and whether or not follow-up is needed.

(Click the picture to download template for FREE)

I have a separate form that I use when holding official parent-teacher conferences. This, on the other hand, is what I use for other meetings throughout the year, whether they be called because of behavior, academics, or another reason.

Here are some of my tips for holding parent meetings:

1. If you are calling the meeting, ask for a convenient time to meet and give them a heads-up about why you'd like to hold the meeting. You don't want them coming in and feeling blind-sided

2. Always start with a positive! Reassure them that you are their partner and want to see their son/daughter excel and achieve. 

I like to follow the OREO rule (which just makes my mouth water to think about!)

3. Show examples! If you are meeting with a student who really struggles in reading, show them a recent miscue analysis, a reading comprehension test, and a sample from their reading binder. If they're failing math, don't just tell them about their child's poor test grades - show them! Parents need to see that you're concerned because this is a pattern.

4. Be an active listener: You want to let the parents voice their concerns without interrupting or feeling defensive. Show the parent that you were listening by repeating back to them their concerns during the meeting and then pause...deep breath....reflect...respond.

Rule of thumb: Respond, Don't React.

5. Make an action plan: you and the parent need to work together to craft some strategies for improvement. We can talk about a problem all day long, but if we don't brainstorm any ideas for fixing the problem, we aren't accomplishing anything.

6. Follow-up: Send an e-mail or make a phone call a couple days after the meeting to re-cap and/or let them know that you're working on things discussed. If you were going to talk to another teacher about the student's behavior in his class, then send a quick note saying that you've done so.

Here's an example from a meeting I conducted:

I printed it out and put it in Nathalie's file for reference and documentation. This is not the first meeting I've had with her parents and tutor, so I was able to refer back to previous meetings and see what had been discussed and decided then. Next time we meet, I'll be able to reference this one.

Click here to download your FREE copy of the Teacher-Parent Meeting Note sheet.

Any tips you would like to share for hosting a successful parent-teacher meeting?

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