What Is Your Parent-Teacher Conference Style?

It’s that time of year again.  Spring is just around the corner.  We can feel it in the air but we aren’t out of the woods quite yet (at least here in the Midwest).  Something else is brewing this time of year in many districts across the nation.  Yep, that’s right, parent-teacher conferences!  I have worked in many different buildings and several districts over the years, and I am always surprised by the variety of ways conferences are handled.  It seems like each building has a unique set of expectations for teachers, students and parents.

Conference Style

Which Conference-style best describes you?

The Social Butterfly

This teacher uses parent-teacher conferences as a time to display and send home artwork (especially delicate ceramic pieces).  She is hoping to lure the herds with the promise of artwork to take home!

The Crowd Pleaser

This teacher uses conference time to accommodate the need of parents and other teachers.  He graciously opens his door and allows students to work in his room while parents meet with the classroom teacher.  He plans to interact with parents as they pick up and drop off their students.

The Go-Getter

This teacher contact parents and requests a conference for specific students.  She is prepared and determined to use this time wisely.  If students are having a problem, she is going to nip it!  And, if she has identified a rising star, this is the perfect time to give credit where credit is due.

The Ostrich

This teacher hides in his or her classroom with the door closed, secretly hoping no one will visit.  She is working feverishly to get lessons and materials prepped for the next session.  Do you think 500+ pieces of paper cut themselves?

The Collaborator

This teachers uses conference time to work on big upcoming projects, like designing the set for the spring musical or painting a new school mural.  You will most likely find this him hip deep in materials if you stop by to conference.

Personally, I think I have pulled from each of these personalities over the years depending on the school, upcoming events and my relationship with parents.  I have also been asked to monitor the halls, sit in the gymnasium “cattle call style,” and even serve refreshments to parents!

How do spring conferences differ from fall conferences at your school?

Do you have any wonderful ideas or conference nightmares to share?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Heather Crockett

Heather Crockett is AOEU’s Chief Academic Officer and a former AOEU Writer and art educator. She is an expert in differentiation, curriculum development, and assessment.

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