Top Ten Things Not To Do When Attending a Parent-Teacher Conference

Here is the 43rd installment of Ten Top Lists of What Not to Do by Marie Ann Bailey of 1WriteWay at http://1writeway.com and John W. Howell of Fiction Favorites at http://johnwhowell.com. These lists are simu-published on our blogs each Monday. We hope you enjoy.

a parent teacher conference

10.  When attending a parent-teacher conference, do not assume your child is never at fault.  If you do, at best, you might be disappointed. At worst, you may find yourself explaining certain behaviors that could only be learned at home.

9.  When attending a parent-teacher conference, do not try to explain away your child’s behavior with some made-up medical excuse.  If you do, at best, you might be questioned about your own veracity. At worst, you might be explaining to child welfare the fact a medical exam found no medical reason for the behaviors.

8.  When attending a parent-teacher conference, do not try to deny providing unusual help on the term project.  If you do, at best, you will look like someone who has problems with the truth. At worst, you could be accused of being a severely overprotective parent with recommendations for counseling.

7.  When attending a parent-teacher conference, do not try to ingratiate the teacher with abnormal compliments. If you do, at best, you will look like you have something to hide. At worst, the teacher will think you are shallow and assign the same trait to your child.

6.  When attending a parent-teacher conference, do not assume the teacher will be impressed with your professional or work title and your forceful personality. If you do, at best, you may be in for a rude awakening. At worst, the teacher will think you are a bully and report you to the principal.

5.  When attending a parent-teacher conference, do not do all the talking. If you do, at best you may miss some important information. At worst, the teacher will think you care more about yourself than your child and end the conference early with none of the issues resolved.

4.  When attending a parent-teacher conference, do not bring along friends or relatives as support. If you do, at best, the teacher will feel outnumbered and end the conference early. At worst, the teacher will bring in a number of witnesses and pretty soon the conference will take on the appearance of a trial with you as the defendant.

3.  When attending a parent-teacher conference, do not bring gifts. If you do, at best, the teacher will feel uncomfortable in giving you an honest evaluation of your child’s performance. At worst, the teacher will need to call the principal to witness turning down what they consider to be a bribe.

2.  When attending a parent-teacher conference, do not call the teacher by the first name. If you do, at best, the teacher will believe you are rude. At worst, the teacher will get the feeling you are unnecessarily challenging the professional relationship which will not play well for the rest of the semester for your child.

1.  When attending a parent-teacher conference, do not wear your most casual clothes. If you do, at best, the teacher will believe you are not serious about the conference. At worst, you may be unknowingly violating the school dress code and be asked to leave the building.

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About 1WriteWay

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19 Responses to Top Ten Things Not To Do When Attending a Parent-Teacher Conference

  1. etinkerbell says:

    As a teacher I did enjoy this, and actually it is all true. 😀

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  2. Bribing the teacher is never a smart move…great post, Marie! Happy Monday!

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  3. I hear these get rougher after the Pre-K period. Guess I’ll have to dress better from now on.

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  4. Good morning Marie. I used to dread these meetings. I had to sit on my hands and bite my tongue when the critical comments on my children were made. Yes they all are individuals and no they won’t be quiet in class or anywhere else.

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  5. sknicholls says:

    Loved #3 and so guilty.

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  6. Great post, Marie & John! Parent/Teacher conferences still bring on a feeling of dread – and the boy is generally smart and well behaved! Oh well, only five more years of them! 🙂

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  7. ericjbaker says:

    A weird cultural oddity: Any two adults would call each other by name in virtually all situations, be it at work, at a party, in a salesperson/customer exchange, etc. I’m Eric. You’re Marie. However, if you were a teacher and I were your student’s father, it would be Ms. Bailey and Mr. Baker. Weird.

    In my senior year of college I had a grad-student teacher who was younger than me (I part-timed college for what seemed like eons, so I was already in my early 30s at this point). I started calling her by her first name because it seemed silly to call a 25-year-old “Ms. X” when I was 33. I’ve never been into formality, though. I’ve called my parents by their first names since I was a wee lad.

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    • 1WriteWay says:

      It is a cultural oddity, but in my workplace (state govt agency), our phone list is organized by first name, regardless of rank. The only people I still address by their last name are the ones who I don’t yet feel comfortable with or who are high up in that rarified space called upper administration. I’ve never had to attend a parent-teacher conference, but when I did a few teaching stints, it always unnerved how my students would insist on calling me Dr. Bailey or Professor Bailey 😉

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  8. Luanne says:

    Great list! I am always most comfortable being called by my first name, but it’s not always comfortable for others. When I taught I would announce to the class on the first day that they could call me Luanne or Professor Castle or Dr. Castle, whatever they felt comfortable with. They could not however call me other names ;).

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  9. I always hated parent/teacher conference, because my mother was so thorough with her interrogations, I mean, questioning, both during and after.

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