Parent /Teacher Conference Times One

It’s that time of the year when parent/teacher conferences take place.  Our district gives us two half days to conduct thirty conferences.  However most of my students’ parents work out of town and I would accommodate them by working around their work schedule so I could meet with them.  It usually took me a week working between 12 and 15 hours to meet with parents.  In addition, I would allot 10 – 15 minutes per appointment and I always felt rushed explaining to a parent their child’s progress.

After years of conducting conferences in the traditional style, I began to search for a different way of conducting conferences.  I attended a presentation by Maria Paredes, who is a WestEd Senior Program Associate, and I brought back her ideas to use for my conferences.

First, I wrote a letter to the parents explaining that I would be changing the format of my conferences and that instead of meeting for 10 – 15 minutes all parents would be meeting together for one hour.  Furthermore, I explained that to truly be a parent/teacher conference students would not be allowed to attend so that parents would not be distracted.

Next, I scheduled the meeting at 7:00 p.m. to accommodate working parents.  When I meet with parents, each parent has a detailed folder with their child’s academic progress and we also discuss class academics and goals.  No discipline issues are discussed because I want the focus of the conference to be on academics and discipline issues are addressed throughout the year.

After my presentation, I open up the meeting to answer any questions or concerns parents may have and I encourage parents to interact with each other.

By implementing a new conference format, time meeting with parents has been reduced from 15 hours to one hour and parent participation has increased due to accommodating their work schedule and meeting in the evening.


Manuel Chavez

Manuel Chavez

San Manuel, AZ

My name is Manuel Michael Chavez Jr. My greatest contribution to education is being able to relate my 20 years of work experience to my students, which I obtained while working for Magma/BHP Copper, one of the largest underground copper mines in the world. My intentions had been to work for Magma Copper Company for the summer and return to school the following fall to pursue my dream of becoming an educator. Twenty years later, I was still employed with Magma Copper and had held various underground mining positions with the last position being a heavy equipment mechanic. In 1999, the mine announced complete closure and I had been forced and given a second opportunity to pursue my dream. What a bittersweet life-changing event in my life. I obtained my Bachelor’s of Science degree in education from NAU and have been teaching for the Mammoth-San Manuel Unified School District in Southwest Arizona for nine years and am pursuing National Board Certification. In 2009, I was selected as an Ambassador for Excellence for the Arizona Educational Foundation and currently sit on the Board of Directors for Sun Life Family Health Care Clinics and the WestEd organization. It is my belief that by intertwining my classroom lessons with my own life experiences and providing my students real world life scenarios, students become engaged in the lessons and develop a desire to learn.

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