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Tips for Parents: Parent-Teacher Conferences

By: Colorín Colorado (2009)

During the school year, teachers will invite you to come to parent-teacher meetings (also called conferences). This is very common in the United States. You can also ask for a conference any time.

Getting Started


The conference is a meeting between you and your child's teacher.


Your child's teacher will contact you to set up a meeting time.


The conference gives you a chance to talk with your child's teacher.


What if I work during the day?

Let the teacher know you can only go to conferences at night.

What if I don't speak English?

You have the right to request that an interpreter attend the conference. You can also bring a friend or relative to interpret. It is important that your child does not translate for you.

What will we talk about?

Your child's teacher will probably talk about your child's grades, classwork, homework, and behavior.

What will I learn?

You will learn more about your child's classes, and find out if your child is having any problems.

What will the teacher ask me?

Teachers like to learn about students from their parents. No one knows your child better than you do. You can help the teacher by talking about:

  • What your child likes to do
  • Events that may affect your child (such as a new baby, divorce or death)
  • Special medical or learning needs

Things to Remember

If you are invited to a conference, it doesn't mean your child is in trouble! Teachers try to meet with all parents.

You and the teacher both want the very best for your child. You can help your child by working together as a team.

Parent-Teacher Conference Checklists

Before the conference

  • Ask your child how she feels about school.
  • Ask your child if there is anything that he wants you to talk about with his teacher.
  • Tell your child that you and the teacher are meeting to help her.
  • Make a list of topics that you want to talk about with the teacher.
  • Prepare a list of questions such as:
  • 1. What are my child's strongest and weakest subjects?
    2. Does my child hand homework in on time?
    3. Does my child participate in class?
    4. Does my child seem happy at school?
    5. What can I do at home to help?

During the conference

  • Be on time (or early) for the meeting.
  • End the meeting on time. Other parents will probably have a conference after yours.
  • Relax and be yourself.
  • Stay calm during the conference.
  • Ask the most important questions first.
  • If your child receives special services such as English classes, ask about your child's progress in those classes.
  • Ask for explanations of anything you don't understand
  • Ask your child's teacher for ways that you can help your child at home.
  • Thank the teacher.

After the conference

  • Talk about the conference with your child.
  • Talk about the positive points, and be direct about problems.
  • Tell your child about any plans you and the teacher created.
  • Keep in touch with the teacher during the school year.

Recommended Resources

For more information, take a look at the following articles:

Browse in:  ELL Topics A-Z > Parent Tips

Comments and Recommendations

This is a very objective approach and I look forward to utilized it resources. Thank you.
Posted by: KR Smith, Cleveland, Oh  |  April 25, 2014 11:44 AM
I was looking for good questions to ask a teacher for the most useful way to help your child and what things we may forget to ask as a parent.
Posted by: Rosalind  |  September 19, 2014 03:34 PM
good questions
Posted by: Alexander  |  May 13, 2015 10:57 AM
(Note: Comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for their content.)

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