Hi y'all! This is Casey from Second Grade Math Maniac.
Most of us became teachers so that we could work with children. We perform in front of large groups daily, but get sweaty palms when we have to speak in front of people over the age of 12.
Parent conference time can be really stressful as we attempt to communicate with other adults and not look like idiots. This is particularily true for beginning teachers. Now in year 5, I am still barely comfortable in conferences. However, I've learned a few tricks along the way to help things go more smoothly.
Sign Up Genius is a totally free site that I use to organize parent conferences, as well as volunteers and sometimes school meetings.
I have learned that it is important to make notes ahead of time for every single student. I use the plus/delta system, nothing fancy. This helps me maintain control of the direction of the conversation for those tricky conferences. It also helps to honor to the time of everyone attending, no random tangents for this girl.
One of the most difficult parts of conferences is having parents say things you don't want to hear. As teachers we are constantly reflecting and beating ourselves up about how we can make things better for our students. We spend hours working on engaging lessons and the last thing we want to hear is how we can do more. In my case, my parents are being informed about my teaching methods by 7-8 year olds. This can be frustrating. In all tricky conversations with parents it is important to take a problem solving stance and at all cost avoid becoming defensive. Many times there is a root of truth to whatever the parent is sharing with you. Even if the problem is that the parent is overreacting, it is your job to diffuse the situation as much as you can rather than making it worse with defensive statements.
You can download some helpful Parent Conference Printables here.