Parent Teacher Conferences: A Guide for Parents

Written by BFIS Staff

Parent Teacher Conferences are a cornerstone of the educational journey, offering a unique opportunity for parents, students, and educators to come together in support of the student’s growth.

These meetings are more than just a discussion about grades; they’re a chance to understand your child’s holistic development, both academically and personally.

Beyond the numbers and grades, it’s about understanding their dreams, challenges, strengths, and the little stories that make up their school days. This article delves into the significance of parent-teacher conferences in fostering a holistic understanding of children.

Importance of Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher conferences are not merely routine events; they are a powerful means to unlock a child’s potential. Engaging in these conferences allows parents to gain insights into their child’s learning environment, their relationships with peers, and their overall well-being. It’s a collaborative effort where parents and teachers align their strategies to ensure student’s success.

Overview of What to Expect

Typically, these meetings provide a snapshot of the student’s performance, behavior, social-emotional development, and any notable achievements or challenges. 

Expect more than just a talk about academic performance because teachers might share anecdotes, perhaps about the time your child helped a friend or showed resilience in a challenging task or demanding situation. These conversations won’t solely revolve around your child’s areas of excellence; they’ll also encompass their aspirations and dreams. 

Some of the information shared in these conversations may include:

  • Your child’s transition to school
  • Your child’s social-emotional well-being. 
  • How they interact with peers and teachers
  • How/What your child is learning
  • Current academic growth and performance, relative strengths, and next steps
  • Goals and recommendations for academic and personal development
  • Hopes and dreams, fostering a collaborative approach to education
  • Ideas, resources, and strategies to help support your child’s growth

Preparing for the Conference

1. Researching and Understanding Your Child’s Academic Performance: Before the meeting, review assignments, and any information or feedback provided by the school. This will give you a clearer picture of where your child stands academically.

2. Listing Down Concerns or Questions: Prepare a list of topics or questions you’d like to address. This ensures that you cover all pertinent points during the limited time of the conference.

3. Talking to Your Child: Ask your child about their feelings towards school, any challenges they’re facing, and what they hope to discuss during the conference. Their perspective is invaluable.

4. Set Goals and Expectations: Have a clear understanding of your intended outcomes for the conference. Whether you aim to define academic targets or address particular concerns, setting expectations will effectively steer the discussion.

Elementary School Conferences: The Formative Years

1. Engaging with the Teacher: Approach the meeting with an open mind. Listen actively and ask clarifying questions when needed.

2. Discussing Academic Performance: Delve into the specifics of your child’s strengths and areas that are opportunities for them to improve. Understand the benchmarks and where your child fits in the grade level expectations.

3. Collaborative Strategies for Supporting Learning at Home: Work with the teacher to develop strategies that can be implemented at home to reinforce learning.

Secondary School Conferences: The Transformative Years

1. Engaging with the Student: At this stage, it’s beneficial for the student to be part of the conversation, taking ownership of their learning journey. It sends a powerful message of trust and empowerment. It empowers students to take control of their education, communicate their needs, and work collaboratively with parents and educators to achieve their academic and personal goals. This engagement contributes to a more holistic and effective approach to a student’s educational journey.

2. Discussing Academic Performance: Beyond grades, discuss the skills they’re acquiring, their participation in class discussions, and their approach to assignments and projects, as well as their learning style.

3. Addressing Emotional, Cognitive, and Intellectual Well-being: Adolescence is a time of significant change. Address any concerns related to their emotional health, peer relationships, and overall well-being.

4. Setting Goals and Expectations Together: Collaboratively set realistic and achievable goals, ensuring the student is an active participant in this process.

After the Conference

As we already stated, parent-teacher conferences are a valuable time that helps to establish the “team spirit” between parents, teachers, and students. When parents and teachers have positive connections, students develop a deeper trust in their teachers. When students see the care and connection between teachers and parents, the student becomes more likely to take their own role within the partnership more seriously. The student knows that both parties are working together to help them reach their goals – and to keep them accountable for these goals.

After the conference, accountability takes place. Here are some tips for what to do after the conferences:

1. Parents are encouraged to share what was discussed at the PTCs with their children. 

2. Start with what is going well, and areas the child has shown improvement, and celebrate the child’s strengths. This positive connection is essential in helping the child to take his or her role in the learning process with more confidence, dedication, and enthusiasm. 

3. Parents and students should devise a plan for home to help the child achieve his or her goals at school. Make the steps clear, measurable, and realistically achievable.

4. Decide how often the parent and child will revisit the goals and reevaluate the child’s progress. Once a timeline is established, parents need to follow through with their child. 

5. If you or your child would like to share this information with the teacher, this is a great way to continue to strengthen your home-school relationship.

6. Always reach out to your child’s teacher if there are any questions or concerns regarding your child’s academic progress or social and emotional well-being at any time, even after the PTCs. 


Active participation in your child’s education is paramount. Parent Teacher Conferences are a testament to the collaborative effort required to nurture a child’s growth.

Some content of this article is adapted from Parent–Teacher Conference Tip Sheets for Principals, Teachers, and Parents, June 2009, Harvard Family Research Project, and from the website

Related posts

CreaEscola Quality Certificate for Education Website