|One of my bulletin boards.|
- Set the room up right. What do I mean by this? Usually you have either one or two parents coming to speak to you. I like to be on the same level as the parents, aka, not behind my desk or standing. So, I set up three desks, in a little circle: we're all on the same level, all there for the same reason. I make sure the desks are easy to get in and out of. I also make sure I can see the clock, as time flies during conferences!
- Wear something comfortable. To be honest, I usually wear some iteration of the Back to School night outfit. No low-cut tops, no short skirts, and something to cover yourself up in case you're nervous and sweating!
- I have a sign up sheet with all the times parents are coming; so, I start from the top of the list, and on an index card (one card per student), write all the information (as well as the parents' names), grades, any positive things to say, and the time which the parent signed up for. When I do all my index cards, I stack them up by time, so I have all the information about each child in time order of conference!
- Don't reveal too much information about yourself. It's absolutely fine for parents to know things like you're engaged (at least I didn't care about this), or big obvious life things...but keep all the nitty gritty details of your life private. Parents of your students are not your friends! They are the parents of your students. I once had a mother, during a conference, say to me, "I know who you're dating." It was awkward and uncalled for (turns out her kids' tutor was the father of a guy I went on one date with, once). Remember, the conference is about their child, not you, not them.
- Be kind. Seriously. Don't go into a conference on the defense...parents are there to gain information about their child, in order that you can work together to make their child's year successful and happy. Of course, not all parents are going to be friendly and kind, but do your best to be kind and respectful (no matter what's going through your head!) Remember, if a parent seriously starts a confrontation, you can 100% call in an administrator for help! (I've never had this problem!)