This year teacher-parent conferences probably look a little different. Not just parent/teacher conferences but also conferences with your remote students. Parents and guardians are going to have even MORE questions about their child’s progress and they are going to want to know the best way to support them with virtual learning at home. With that in mind, let me show you the fastest and easiest way to set up a virtual conference.
Create a Virtual Conference Page
This is where parents of your students can look up your contact information. On your page, add your professional email, your schedule and availability. Here are some of the ways you could establish this:
If your school has its own website, create a page that gives your teaching background and interesting information about you. You could use the information that you prepared for your back to school night. If your school doesn’t provide a website, you can also use Google Sites, wix, wordpress, weebly, or adobe spark pages. I even suggest that you put a quick video of what you have covered so far this school year so that families are up to date.
Create and share a link to a Google Forms page where parents can ask questions that they would like for you to cover. In the form, have a section to gather the parent’s or guardian’s basic information, ask for their preferred time and date of the meeting. Don’t forget to ask how they want to have the meeting and which app they prefer (e.g. Zoom, Google Meet).
If you use google calendar, you can have parents, guardians or students directly book an appointment with you, click here to learn how to set up google calendar as a scheduling tool! Make sure to leave some wiggle room between appointments, just in case!! There have been times when in-person meetings run over. You DO NOT want family or students sitting in the virtual room waiting for you. If the waiting time is over 2-3 minutes you might lose them and have to reschedule the whole thing!! People have less tolerance in the virtual environment. You can also use sign up genius, which I heard is also good.
After gathering the parents’ schedules and double-checking it with your own, the next step is to create the virtual room and share the link and appointment date and time with them. Google Meet and Zoom are two of the most popular platforms that you can create a teacher parent conference room. You should create a simple email invitation with the date, time, virtual conference link, and have an agenda. Make sure families know the amount of time set aside for their meeting.
Set the Goals and Expectations for the Meeting
The most important factor in effective parent conferences is helping students and parents get a clear picture of how the student is performing in class. What are their strengths and their weaknesses? Doing this involves taking notes of their progress beforehand and showing it to their parents. Aside from sharing anecdotal note and data that you have collected on the student, think about the following:
Which skills are the easiest for the student to perform?
Which skills are the hardest for the student to perform?
Are there any changes to his/her behavior from the start of the school year until now?
Listen to the parent’s concerns and give them assurance. Remote learning is the first time any of us has encountered, so be prepared to talk about that with each of your students’ families.
When you are creating your parent/student/teacher conference agenda make sure to set aside enough time so that you can speak and also set aside time for parent/student questions and answer.
Wait for Response
After all the preparations are done, check back with parents a few days before the teacher-parent conference to confirm their appointment. You can do this with a quick email or text. You might encounter situations where families have to reschedule the meeting.
Being prepared will save you your sanity and keeping a flexible schedule will avoid unnecessary stress! I hope that these tips helped you think of things you might not have thought of and I really hope your conference season passes without too many hiccups or surprises.
Have any questions? Suggestions for parents to follow for these virtual conferences? Drop a comment below!