What are some tips for my virtual parent-teacher conference?
Fall is upon us, and parent-teacher conferences are quickly approaching. Conferences are an essential time for both parties to connect about the student’s academic performance and how to best support their specific learning style. It is also a time for teachers to offer their initial impressions of the student’s behavior and social-emotional wellbeing.
This year, most of these meetings will be held virtually due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This has caused many teachers to wonder how they can effectively connect and communicate with parents while sitting in front of a screen instead of face-to-face in the classroom. In a world that’s more tech-based than ever, parents want to take advantage of this one on one meeting to ensure their child has a successful school year.
Parents and teachers can follow a few simple steps to make sure they get the most out of their virtual student conference.
Make Technology Work for You
Make the most of the amazing technological resources out there! Here’s how to take advantage of a few of them.
Zoom at a Time That Works Best.
Virtual student conferences eliminate the need for leaving work early or traveling to the child’s school. Parents can take advantage of this convenience by carefully scheduling the meeting for when they will have ample time and energy to discuss their child’s performance with the teacher. Easily accessible virtual conferences may also mean that both parents can attend. That can lead to improved understanding of the student’s performance and characteristics by all parties involved.
Use an Online Sign Up Tool
Teachers can use an online sign up tool such as Sign Up Genius or ParentSquare to schedule conferences. This makes it easy for parents to set a time to meet and swap days or make changes as needed.
Create & Share Documents Online
Conferences can go by quickly and it’s easy to deviate from topics. It is important for both teachers and parents to stay on track and cover the intended information.
Parents – make a list in advance of questions, suggestions about your child’s learning style or behavior, and any other topics you’d like to make sure are covered. Using the screen sharing feature on your video conferencing platform can help both parties refer to these documents during the meeting.
Teachers – create a general agenda ahead of time to organize your conferences. Outline areas of discussion in a Word document, or a simple slideshow that you can email parents prior if you’d like. Use an app like ClassDojo to share positive classroom moments with parents that can keep them involved and engaged.
Prevent Problems with Technology
Teachers should let parents know ahead of time which platform they will be joining for the conference. Send a guide for how to utilize the platform, such as this one on Getting Started with Zoom. Teachers or administrators can create a “Frequently Asked Questions” or “Troubleshooting Tips” handout for parents about utilizing the system. Parents can ask to have information for a direct contact they can call or email if they run into an issue joining the meeting.
Refer to Online Resources
While evaluating the student’s performance, if teachers have a concern with his or her learning, behaviors, communication, or motor skills, they can be ready to recommend the appropriate intervention. TherapyWorks provides pediatric Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy services via teletherapy. The child will be matched with a specialist based on his or her needs and the parents’ areas of concern. If intervention such as Speech Therapy is recommended, teletherapy is a convenient, safe, effective option to support a successful school year.
Keep Connection in Mind
Technology doesn’t have to be a social barrier! It’s important for both teachers and parents to remind themselves that whether in-person or on-screen, parent-teacher conferences are truly meant as an opportunity to connect about the child. Despite being behind a laptop, focus your energy and attention on the other party and collaborate to cultivate success!
If you have concerns about your child’s development or academic skills please don’t hesitate to reach out! The TherapyWorks team is happy to consult with your and provide recommendations.