Parent/Teacher Conferences are a great way to connect with your parents. However, make sure you have had great communication with them before now, whether it is through Remind, Class Dojo, Weekly Reports or other avenues.
In our district, we have conferences in the fall and again in the spring. Obviously during the fall conferences, I am just getting to know the parents. I always see which parents might be good to help out at our class parties, field trips, or any volunteer work I might need. During spring conferences, you get to share how much progress (hopefully) their child has made.
Here are some tips that I have found to help me have successful parent/teacher conferences.
Plan on keeping your conference short and sweet unless there are areas of concern about the student...my conferences are typically 15 min. Be aware of how you explain things and avoid teacher jargon that they might not understand.
Always start with something positive...yes, I know there are those occasional students that it is hard to find something positive, but come up with at least one strength.
Discuss growth and progress. Inform parents of their ability/grade level in all content area. Share work samples and testing results.
If your school has RTI, be sure to have that information from those teachers beforehand so you can share that information, as well. (Tier 1, 2, 3)
Ask for their input and address any questions that they have. Be sure to listen and give honest answers. Don't sugar-coat things! This doesn't help anyone in the long run.
If there are concerns about the child in another area that you don't teach, you could ask that teacher if he/she is available at that time to sit in on the conference. If they aren't, ask them to make clear cut notes that you can present to the parent on their behalf. And if you feel ahead of time that you are going to have a difficult parent, then ask the principal or another teacher to sit in, as well.
If the student accompanies the parent, and there is something you want to address with only the parent, then just kindly ask the child to wait outside the room.
Be sure to provide the parent with a copy of the conference form.