Parent-Teacher Conferences Are Not Unlike Speed-Dating

The meeting of the grown-ups!  It's that time of year!

Parent-teacher conferences are not unlike speed-dating.  I've never actually speed-dated, or dated very speedily at all, but I think I know what's what.  Essentially, I have a very short period of time at the end of everyone's work day to introduce myself, recite the spiel about writing class, and give a State of the Union address for each of the individual children.

It also happens that at my school, the teachers in a grade level are seated in a row of tables, and parents move literally down the line to speak to each one of us.  Like speed-dating, right?  We've even become pretty good at synchronizing our timing, thereby avoiding line congestion and moving the entire row of parents over in perfect conferencing harmony.

I don't want to talk forever, but I also don't want to feel the pressure of the line sync to move parents right along.  I want to be sure I take advantage of the fact that my students' parents are here in front of me, and I can tell them all of the things!  We need this grown-up time!

My colleagues busted my chops for my terrifically nerdy handout, but I found it to be such a nice and simple way to communicate with parents!  It was really a quick solution that allowed me to give them the necessary information:

I came up with this as a simple way to provide the parents with a number of ways to contact me, as well as to break down the student's performance.  This helps the parent see what the areas of strength and weakness are.  During the conference, I fill it out while looking at my grade book, and explain to parents how these conclusions were reached.  If any clarification is needed, we can then delve further and look at specific assignments.

Making communication a little clearer makes everyone's lives a little easier.

I loved this, and I think I'll use it again for future conferences.  I'll happily email you the .doc if you want it, and you can plug your own name and categories and notes into it.  (Leave a comment below with your email address, and I'll send it to you right away!)


  1. Your handout is amazing and hopefully will be in those parent's folders on their kids' development forever. I wish I could have Miss A as MY TEACHER... now! Also, speed dating is horrible and similarly ends in rating people and taking notes.

  2. This handout looks fabulous! May I have a copy? Email -->

  3. ooo I'd love the doc! please!

  4. HI! While we use learning outcomes at our school and have annualize grades, I think this would be really helpful and a way for me to speak meaningfully with both students and families. I would love to be sent a copy if possible. Thank you.