Parent teacher conferences start next week and I am anticipating successful conversations. Parent teacher conferences are a great opportunity to build community relationships and help parents understand what we do in physical education. Here are eight practices I will follow.
- Students are invited to join their parents in on conversation. I believe this is paramount. When students are present at the conference, everyone is getting the same information which prevents any misunderstandings.
- Parents need to be reassured that I love their child. They want to know we are in their court. I begin all my conferences with telling parents how much I adore their child. This practice helps build a trusting relationship between all of us.
- Students love to share their opinion so I will often ask students to share with their parents some of their favorite activities. When they share an activity I will then ask them to also share with their family the concept they were learning. For example if they love using the heart rate monitors, I will follow up their comment with “What have you learned about your heart rate compared to your intensity?”
- If the student is having a struggle with a skill, concept, or behavior I ask them to share that with their parents. I assure the parent that I believe in the child’s success and we typically talk through ways the parents can help their child practice a skill or understand a concept.
- Behavior problems can pose a problem if they are brought up with the parents before they have been resolved with the student. In my humble opinion, I find that when there is an ongoing behavior problem, I first need to have conversations with the student. These conversations include me again assuring the student that I like them and I want to help them resolve any behavior problem. Then when we meet with the student’s parents during conference time, I can ask the student to share how they have been successful resolving a problem. I can even have them share what worked and what didn’t.
- Promotion of my availability encourages great parent teacher relationships. In order to bring more parents in to talk about their child in physical education, I put up a sandwich board in our school entry inviting parents to drop by and talk.
- Data says it all. I keep an ongoing record of how students are doing on each of our grade level outcomes. I share with parents how their child is progressing towards mastery of different skills. My record keeping book allows me to show parents the growth their child is making.
- Parents appreciate learning about resources. Colorado has a great resource that I print and have available for parents to take home. It is the Colorado Physical Education standards by grade level in parent talk. This awesome resource covers what students will learn and is available in English and Spanish! I also share extracurricular resources, letting a parent know that their child is very skilled in a particular area and there is a local club where they could explore these skills further is greatly appreciated.