Do you look forward to Parent-Teacher conferences?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Do you look forward to Parent-Teacher conferences?

View Results

While a majority of teachers polled answered this question with a negative response, the results were far from overwhelming. In a perfect world parent-teacher conferences are a way to provide one-on-one communication between two of the biggest influences in a student's life. When the two parties agree on how learning is best accomplished and how to support the student in their academic goals, it's a win-win situation. Unfortunately, the world isn't perfect.

Some teachers are fortunate enough to enter into a situation where the conferences are fairly close to ideal. Parents are open to ideas and are willing to listen to ways they can help their son or daughter achieve their learning outcomes. In other cases, almost the opposite occurs. People not only come in all shapes and sizes, they come in all temperaments and attitudes as well. If a parent is completely unwilling to accept information the teacher is trying to relay with regard to a student's behaviour or learning difficulties, the conference becomes useless. When one or both of the parties is not able to see any point of view but their own the communication is doomed to failure.

However, the reasons behind failed parent-teacher conferences can be as numerous as the people involved. In some areas parents are not financially able to attend conferences. This may be particularly true with single-parent families where the mother is working two jobs and literally does not have the time to attend and hear the teacher's feedback. Even if they could attend, they have so little time available that the amount of support they can offer at home is limited.

Perhaps some teachers don't look forward to parent-teacher conferences simply because they are time-consuming and labour intensive. This is a valid point as well. For teachers at secondary school who have multiple large classes just getting to know all the students is a challenge. Conferences usually occur fairly early in the school year and sometimes it's difficult to have very much personal insight to relay to the parents because you simply don't know their child well enough yet.

Whatever your reasons are for liking or disliking the process, it's still an important part of each student's academic year. If a poll were taken of parents perhaps a similar majority would report that they don't look forward to the meetings either. You never know, maybe their reasons for liking or disliking the conferences are very similar to your own.