Tips to Maximize Parent-Teacher Conferences (in 140 characters or less)

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On Wednesday nights (9PM EST/6PM PST) parents, teachers and administrators around the world come together for one hour to discuss important topics around family engagement. It’s called #PTchat (Parent-Teacher Chat), and is one of a slew of weekly educational chats (or FREE professional development for educators and parents) that occur each week on Twitter.  It’s very exciting that social media has allowed for this transparent perspective sharing to discuss and take a stand on how to best support kids!
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Last week, #PTchat topic centered on Parent Teacher Conferences (PTCs). Below, you will find the actual “tweets” sent from multiple perspectives that cover the goals, latest research and innovative tools used by teachers and parents to maximize Parent-Teacher Conferences. After all, these meetings are usually very short so in the best interests of the student, parents and teachers must partner together to make the most of these face to face opportunities.
Once the meeting is on the calendar, it’s important to go into it with the right shared purpose in mind. 

For parents reading along- What is your perspective? Why do you have that perspective? What perspective is best for your child? 

The following 40 tweets have been pulled from the most recent  #PTchat. Feel free to read the entire conversation here.
Tweets from the Parent’s Perspective 
1) “As a parent, I think it is critical to have opportunities to engage in a F2F (face to face) dialogue about my child’s progress.”
2) “As a parent, I see how my kids can improve on what they’re already doing.” 
3) “Luv when kids are w/me @ meetings”
4) (When planning conferences) “Ask the parents what would work best for them?
5) “Both sides go in w/open minds”
6) Schools should set a goal for teachers to make at least 5 positive contacts a week with the parents of struggling students”
7) “For me, I want to know what the challenges are and have specific ideas/tools on how I can support the learning at home”
Conscientious teachers have a child’s best interests in mind before, during and after the PTC. The goal is to maximize this brief meeting and have as much two-way dialogue occur as possible. If both parties are comfortable having the student at the conference, it shows the child that his/her parent-teacher team is working hard to help them be successful in school and all are on the same page! 
Parents wondering what’s inside the head of the teacher preparing for the PTC should be comfortable asking? Teachers can build relational trust by sharing the purpose of the meeting for the day of the conference and everyday moving forward. The answer a teacher gives and the walk that backs up the talk will help develop the ideal parent-teacher relationship necessary for the best teaching and learning to occur.
Tweets from the Educator’s Perspective 
8) “No one knows our students better than parents. They are our best resource!”
9) “Build relations and open lines of communication”
10) “My best PT meetings were held at racetracks and pubs”
11) “Remember, it’s about trust and perception of value. U will have to rebuild that which has been torn down b4 u”
12) “It also is a time for the first f2f meeting and sets the stage for follow up conversations”
13) “SocialMedia is a game-changer and something which should allow us to change when/how these types of meetings occur”
14) “PT conference went well when P looks @ u & genuinely says, ‘You truly know my child’ Trust/Respect gained 4 both P & T”
15) “For some parents it is the only contact they have with schools” 
16) “They are not long enough for the students that need the most help”
17) “Beauty of the Student-led is the level of accountability on the student. Makes them take some more responsibility for their learning”
18) “Build conferences to include information that parents desire”
19) “For some of your parents, conference day might be the only day you see them all year. Make it count”
20) “I love to make a call on the first day of school…blows them away!!!”
21) “Careful not to have too many teachers in room so parent feels overmatched  -only necessary teammates to help prov resources/support”
22) “I believe Ps want to know u r helping their “gifts” become lifelong learners & citizens while they are away all day. And having fun!”

23) “The needs/wants vary so greatly from parent to parent”
There have never been so many web tools to schedule conferences, organize feedback, set goals, structure student-led conferences as well as sift through easily accessible research to nail down the importance of all your hard work around conferences. Tweets 24-40 give you all the resources you need to get planning on those final “official” conferences of the school year.
Resources, Research & Tools To Use/Pass Along 
24) “Jerry Blumengarten’s “Parent-Teacher Conference Pages”
25) “Larry Ferlazzo’s “The Best Resources On Parent/Teacher Conferences”
26) “I use student completed form showing me and parents where they believe they are performing at and strengths/weaknesses. Great tool!”
27) “My student led conferences have a set script to assure all topics covered. Includes samples of work”

28) “Research suggests that parent engagement in conferences diminishes over time due to lack of meaningful and relevant info”

29) “Initial Research on Student Led Conferencing”

    30) “My Student led form
    31) “Sign Up Genius works well for events – easy to use! Link here—
    32) “@Volunteerspot has a tool for PT conf signup
    33) “Building relationships improves attendance and content of conference”
    34) “Sample Google appointments for your Parent-Teacher Conferences
    35) “Another example of a Google Doc used for Parent-Teacher Conferences here —->
    36) “Wondering if we could tap into parent’s strength and invite them back as a guest, volunteer, etc”

    37) “Parents want to know that you care about their child and that they are going to be happy learning in your class!”

      38) “Leave the conference with a ‘next step plan’ that will provide opportunity for further contact between parents and teacher” 

        39) “The entire #PTchat on Maximizing Parent-Teacher Conferences – archived here

          40) “Interested in further P-T perspectives? All #PTchats have been chronologically archived here

          Investigate what perspectives might be at play in your setting.

          • What perspective do you bring as a teacher and/or parent? 
          • What perspective do your students hope you bring? 

          If you missed our chat, please share it below. Please consider joining #PTchat on Wednesday nights at 9PM EST/6PM PST to add your important perspective.

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