In my past life, as an elementary school teacher, I distinctly recall three types of parents coming into my classroom for the parent-teacher conference. First, there was the very excited and in tune parent who I knew was going to make sure her kid did well, no matter what. The second type was the very nervous and intimidated parent. This parent didn’t want to rock the boat and didn’t have much to say. Finally, the third type of parent was ready to rumble. This parent was going to find a problem with anything I said and if I offered even one “constructive” piece of advice, there was no hearing it. All of these moms and dads came from different backgrounds, perspectives and experiences; but the one thing they all had in common… they wanted the best for their child.

Now as a mom to a Kindergartner and first grader, the tables have turned. I am now the one eager to make sure that my child is working to the best of his ability. I also have a bit of trepidation, as I don’t want to say something that might negatively influence how my child is seen. With that said, the most important thing to remember is that you, your child and your child’s teacher have to be on the same page and working toward the same goal. YOU HAVE TO BE A TEAM.

Your child spends most of his day with his teacher. Your child’s teacher is there to ensure your kid’s academic success. So when parent-teacher conferences roll around, you want to be there. It’s that precious time to get the one-on-one attention you and your child deserve. You want to get to know your kid’s teacher and you want your kid’s teacher to GET YOUR KID. It’s up to you to help your child connect with his teacher to ensure not only a successful academic school year, but a happy one!

Here are a few suggestions for an A+ parent-teacher conference:

Go in with an open mind
There is no room for preconceived notions. No room for engaging in rumors, etc. What one parent/child may have experienced with your particular teacher is fraught with gray matter. You and your child have a unique relationship with the teacher.

Really listen to what the teacher is expressing about your son or daughter. Try to hear what the teacher is saying. Children may display behavior in class that you may not see at home. Are you the same at home as your are out in the world? Likely, the answer is no.

Get on the same page as your child’s teacher
Remember, your child’s teacher is the person caring for and developing your child’s academic success. Do your best to enhance what the teacher is trying to accomplish.

Tell the teacher about your kid
Let the teacher know what he is like on the sports field, during down time or who his friends are. What makes your kid tick?

Do not be afraid to ask questions
If your child needs extra help or the teacher wants him to focus on something in particular, ask specifically what you should do at home to help your child transfer that to the classroom. Ask the teacher to spell it out. It’s okay. Take the time now.

Remember, your child’s teacher is only human
Teachers make mistakes too. Be empathetic to the fact that in most cases your child’s teacher is doing the best that he/she can. If you’re empathetic, he/she is more likely to want to understand and be empathetic toward your child.

Show up!
Don’t miss your parent-teacher conference unless there is an emergency.That means both parents.This will allow you to understand exactly what the teacher is expressing. It’s also beneficial to be able to bounce ideas off of one another.This is one of your most important meetings as parents!

Don’t compare your child to another
Every child is unique and every child will grow and develop at his own academic speed.