Tips and Ideas / Mar 09, 2016

Top 10 All-Time Best Practices for Parent-Teacher Conferences


Parent-teacher conferences on the horizon? Preparation is the key to a successful season of parent-teacher conferences. Parent-teacher conferences are an important opportunity to collaborate with parents about how the child is doing and develop a plan for how you as teachers and parents will work collectively to see the child grow and succeed.

But let’s be honest, these meetings also include dealing with some difficult conversations and personalities. And before you even get the parents into your classroom, you have to tackle the challenge of actually setting the meetings up and making sure families are alerted and reminded just in time. What if we told you there was a way of setting up all your parent-teacher conferences in just five minutes?

Using ClassTag parent-teacher conference functionality, all you need to do is post the time slots that you have available for your classroom and ClassTag will do the rest. You can simply “set it and forget it” – will send reminders to the parents who have signed up as their time slot approaches. If a parent doesn’t sign up, ClassTag will send them a gentle, timely reminder to pick a time slot. ClassTag handles all the coordination and reminders, so you have less to stress about.

But we know the buck doesn’t stop there. We compiled the top ten all-time best practices to guarantee that your parent-teacher conferences will go smoothly. Check them out and don’t miss the resources section at the end!

1. Communication is Key

Try to address some of the frequently asked questions ahead of the conference. By being intentional, clear and thorough with announcements you send, you will reduce the risk of miscommunication during the meeting.

2. Keep Data Handy

 It always helps to visualize the current progress whether it be showing recent work or grades. Parents benefit greatly from having this material right in front of them throughout your discussion.

3. Balance the Conversation

Discussing student’s progress and performance should always be about balance. While you may have to highlight a current weakness, it is best to share a recent accomplishment. Give the good with the bad.

4. Invite the Student

The student is more apt to take ownership of his or her current work if he or she is actually present. Allowing the student to share in the discussion will give them a better understanding of what is expected of them.

5. Candy Always Helps

 No explanation needed. 🙂

6. Confidence

Being confident about what you have to share with parents is key. Determine what it is that you want to talk about and which questions are vital. Amanda Morin’s worksheet is an excellent guide to a confident conference convo.

7. Be Specific

If preparing an entire worksheet for every student sounds awfully daunting, then take an abbreviated approach and jot down the most important question for each student. This tactic of preparation should guarantee a focused conversation around a specific topic.

8. Time it Right

Respecting the time of the parents is an extremely important part of the night as well as making certain you stick to the schedule. Allow yourself a buffer time in between each family (which you could easily set up using ClassTag).

9. Find Alternatives

For parents that may not be able to make it to your parent-teacher conferences but still express interest, offer times to chat over the phone or schedule a virtual hangout. You may add these slots to your ClassTag parent-teacher conference schedule.

10. Cooperate

Some news that needs to be shared with parents during the conference might not be easy to hear. It’s worth remembering that parent is your ally on this educational journey and you are working together to ensure student fulfills their potential.  If bringing up some difficult topics makes you stressed, read this post about handling difficult conversations.

Useful Resources

  • Use this fail-proof step by step process to set up your conferences with ClassTag.


  • Tara saved hours last year by setting up conferences with ClassTag. Read her story and get inspired!


BONUS! Then head over to Thought Catalog for a chuckle about real-world parent-teacher conference experiences – it’s worth remembering that awkward exchanges can happen to any teacher. Just do your best and take it in your stride. 

If you found this post useful, why not share it with other teachers in your community? Conferences really don’t have to be stressful! 

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