Many schools are wrapping up the first marking period which means that it is time for Parent/Teacher Conferences. Even during normal times, conferences can be daunting to parents, but add the virtual element and it can feel that much more intimidating. However, don’t despair, we have some tips to share to help your virtual conference run smoothly. If you have already had your Parent/Teacher Conference, this advice can be applied to almost any virtual meeting with your child’s teacher.
Prepare ahead of time:
- Decide where you will be when you are online. Make sure you have appropriate lighting and are in an area free of distractions. You may want to use the same space that your child uses for remote learning because you will know that it has the correct set-up. Tell your family when your conference will be and make sure the children have something to do so that you are not interrupted.
- Make sure you show up on time for your scheduled meeting and be prepared to listen to the teacher. That being said, you should also have a written list of any questions or concerns you have about your child that you would like to discuss. Parent/Teacher Conferences are usually short so you want to make the most of your time by focusing on the issues most important to you. Try to stay on topic. Before the conference ends, make a plan with your teacher on how to address the topics that were discussed and when you will meet (or talk) again to assess your child’s progress.
Allow time/patience for technological issues:
- Technology doesn’t always work the way we want. Even though by now, you may feel comfortable using Zoom (or other conferencing platforms), allow time for a “dry run” before your conference begins. Make sure the video shows your face, the audio works and you know how to sign in for your child’s teacher (teachers will usually communicate the sign in instructions). Don’t be afraid to ask your kids for help getting it set up - by this point they are probably pros at what they are doing.
Acknowledge the challenges of the pandemic:
- There is no question that this year has been difficult and stressful for everyone: parents, teachers and students. Almost everyone agrees that remote learning is not the ideal way to learn, but unfortunately right now, it may be the best option. Try not to get fixated on the small stuff. Keep the big picture in perspective and focus on the learning process instead of worrying too much about your child’s academic performance. It is also worth noting that the pandemic is negatively affecting many children’s social, emotional and mental health so it is especially important to prioritize this area of your child’s well-being.
We are all doing the best we can. While these tips can help you prepare for your conference, it is also important to extend grace, kindness and patience to one another as we continue to navigate the uncharted waters of remote learning and the year 2020.
Any questions? Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com. Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.