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Conference Collaboration: How to have a Productive Parent-Teacher Conference

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Conference season is upon us! Parent-teacher conferences can be stressful for a variety of reasons ranging from academic concerns to deficits in communication. As the parent, you are your child's most powerful advocate. We know that you just want what's best for your child in all areas of life, including their education. Due to this, conferences have the potential to be emotionally charged...but let's not forget what parent-teacher conferences are for: collaborating to best support the needs of your learner.

For our FREE comprehensive conference planner loaded with sample questions and a step-by-step guide to help you get ready for conferences, click here!

an info graphic: Here at The Learning Room we have a combined 30 plus years of classroom teaching short, we've been through a lot of parent-teacher conferences

Here at The Learning Room we have a combined 30 plus years of classroom teaching short, we've been through a lot of parent-teacher conferences (both as teachers and parents!) Here are some of our tips and tricks to make sure your parent-teacher conference is collaborative, productive, and works towards best supporting your child's learning!


A productive parent-teacher conference is all about preparedness. While teachers are preparing work samples, grades, and more, you should be preparing, too!

  • Brainstorm

Think about any and all of your questions, concerns, and talking points. These can range from academic concerns, questions about grades or curriculum to behavioral questions, and more. Now is the time for you to get all of your thoughts, feelings, and concerns onto paper. This will help you establish the most important topics to cover during your parent-teacher conference.

  • Organize and make goals

After you've gotten all of your ideas down onto paper, organize and consolidate any repeated concerns, questions or ideas. For example, if you notice you've written several points about communication, that's a great indicator that you should chat about the best form of communication during parent-teacher conferences.

  • Review your child's grades and assignments

In order to make the best use of your time with your child's teacher(s), review your child's grades and assignments prior to your conference time. This is a great time to double-check if your child has any missing assignments or worrisome grades you want to discuss during your conference.

Doing this work beforehand will ensure that you know what you want to talk about during your conference. Your child's teacher may also have talking points however, being prepared will help keep the dialogue open and productive.


During your conference, use your limited time to ask questions and address concerns and goals you've already brainstormed. Listen carefully and ask clarifying questions when needed.

In order to best support your child's learning, be sure to ask questions when you need more information! Some examples might be...

  • I heard you say my child is reading below grade level. Can you show me what an on-grade level text looks like for 3rd grade? What is keeping my child from reaching that level text?

  • I know my learner is struggling with word problems. What part do you notice they are making mistakes on the most, understanding the problem, showing their work, or doing computation?

  • My child's progress report noted that they need to improve their writing. What areas of writing are the most difficult for them that we can help support them with at home?

  • I know large benchmark assessments and unit tests don't go home since they are reused by the school each year; while I'm here, can I see my child's assessment? Can you walk me through the areas they needed more support with?

  • What is the academic expectation for (reading, writing, math, etc.) for this time of year? Where is my child in meeting (or not meeting) that expectation?

Remember, your child's teacher is the expert in education, so they should be able to articulate action items to work on with your child in specific areas. During your conference is the time to collaborate on how to best support your child's learning.

Your conference conversation will also vary greatly depending on your child's age. For example, if your child is in early elementary school, you may want to consider asking questions about their fine motor skills, social-emotional skills, and executive functioning skills. If your child is in middle or high school, teachers are less likely to be able to reach out about behaviors (since they may have 200+ students each day), so asking about behavioral patterns or missing assignments may be more appropriate.

Parent - Teacher Conference Guide, for the parent.
Free Download: Parent-Teacher Conference Guide, for the Parent.

For our FREE comprehensive conference planner loaded with sample questions and a step-by-step guide to help you get ready for conferences, click here!


You made it through another parent-teacher conference! Your work is done...right? Definitely not. Oftentimes conferences lead to a lot of 'leftovers' such as documents to send to your child's teacher, follow-ups about assignments, and more. The day or two after your conference, wrap up any leftover items and follow through on any action items you need to do with your learner at home.

Parent-teacher conferences shouldn't be the start or end of communication with your child's teacher. In order to best work as a team to support your child's learning, communication should be open and ongoing.

If conferences didn't go as well as you'd hoped...

  • Remember, teacher concerns are not an assessment of your parenting! Teachers (like you) also want the best for their students. Parent-teacher conferences are a snapshot of what teachers see in school and in their classrooms.

  • Be sure to follow up periodically on the action items you discussed. Tell your child's teacher what you've been doing at home and how it's working, and check in about what they've been doing in school to help them reach their goals.

  • Look into services to help you help your child. Oftentimes despite your and your child's teacher's best efforts, learners still struggle.

If you feel like you've tried everything but still need support, sign up for a free consultation to see if our 1:1 services are a fit for you and your learner!

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