Parent Teacher Conferences…Waste or Worth it?

Relationship Coach Matt Townsend shares some thoughts to help you make the most of your time with your students’ teachers.

Totally up to you?

If you think they’re good, they are?

You make them wastes or worth its.

They help you stay on topic of their academics, but more importantly it communicates you’re paying attention.

Communication is what you make it?

Remember everything you do communicates something.

If you don’t show up for conferences what does that say?

You don’t care.

You’re too busy.

You’re kids don’t need the help

You don’t value education.

PTC are excellent ways to learn more about your children.

1. Are they social? Do they have friends?

2. Do they listen?

3. Do they respect the teacher?

4. Do they get along with other people?

5. Who are their friends?

6. What are their academic gifts or talents?

7. How could/should I be steering my child to their talents?

The bigger issue of communicating with your teacher.

Kids Want Accountability

Direct Open communication with your teachers ensures that they kids can’t divide and conquer.


o Try to talk to the teacher with the child present. That way everyone is hearing what everyone is saying.

o Don’t just believe one side.

o Never bad mouth a teacher to your child.

Assume you don’t fully understand

The biggest assumption about communication is that it is taking place.

Remember you’re not getting all of the data.

The kids aren’t remembering everything or don’t have context of the teacher.

Manage expectations

Remember you both should have the same goals with the teacher.

Those goals should be discussed

“Townsend’s don’t do math” example.

Be clear and make sure their ideas are clear

Remember your roles

Their job is to teach, yours is to parent, discipline and manage your child.

Don’t always believe your kid. Don’t always believe your teacher.

Use All Means to Communicate

Use parent teacher conferences, school fundraisers, PTA meetings, assemblies, find any reasons to get to their school class.


Drop in or help out in class. See the child in the setting that might be causing problems.

Email regularly.

Have emails forwarded to phones or text messages that an email has arrived.

Get online to check your children’s grades regularly


Don’t be afraid of the teacher…like old days.

Remember they don’t get paid overtime, even when they already work it, so respect their time.

Respect their workload.

Get Involved

Become the change you seek in your child’s class…don’t just talk about it.

You will talk more if you are more present.

You’ll also see the other perspective more when you’re in the classroom more.

Understand their perspective first.

Don’t play mama bear.

Remember that they’re your partners

You both want what’s best for your children.

I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.

Interesting stats

How do you stay in contact with your child’s teacher?

67%: E-mail

58%: Notes in backpack

57%: At parent-teacher conferences

31%: At drop-off or pick-up from school

29%: Telephone

1%: Through class parents.

Who initiates the contact?

90%: I do

29%: The teacher

What are the topics of communication?

68%: In-class academics

60%: Behavior

51%: Homework

44%: Upcoming events

35%: Social adjustment

19%: School trips

How would you rate your communication with your child’s teacher?

38%: Excellent

38%: Good

18%: Okay

7%: Needs Improvement

Are there topics you would like to bring up to the teacher, but don’t?

67%: No

33%: Yes

If yes, why?

52%: Concerns about being judged

37%: Not sure if the issue is appropriate

33%: Time constraints

• I don’t want the teacher to take it out on my child, or for my child to be singled out or targeted unfairly. Sometimes my child begs me to not say anything.

• I often feel she is unapproachable or not interested in certain subjects.

• She doesn’t take calls during the day and can’t seem to return calls later. Communicating by notes limits the conversation to absolutely necessary work.

For more information, you can contact Matt Townsend at the Townsend Relationship Center through or or by calling (801) 747-2121.

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