Parent Teacher Conference

The New Jersey Education Association’s (NJEA) County Teachers of the Year share their tips for making the most of your next parent teacher conference.

“Share something unique about your child. Maybe he’s interested in becoming a mechanic, or enjoys building model cars. As a math teacher, I can use this information to help make my lessons more engaging.”

—Amanda McCloskey
Math, Grade 8, Bridgeton

“Parents should be prepared to share any pertinent information about their child’s life at home. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask the teacher about specific measures their child can take to improve their academic and behavioral performance.”

—Michelle-Anne Spring
Math/Science, Grade 4, Willingboro

“Really listen to what’s being said. Too often we listen ready to defend and miss the heart and intention of the message.”

—Thomas Belasco
English, Grades 11-12, Cape May

“This is your child’s journey. Let them have their own experiences and learn from their own mistakes. Their teachers will be there to pick them up and move them forward.”

—Jennifer Caputo
All subjects, Grade 5, Sparta

“Discuss your child’s social and emotional skills. Approaching this early on can be beneficial in the long run for your child’s mental health.”

—Jennifer Olawski
Phys. Ed./Health, Grades K-5, New Brunswick

“Come prepared with questions about their academic growth and social/emotional learning rather than their test scores. Ask questions about your child’s creativity.”

—Brittany Mason
Social Justice/Sociology, Grades 11-12, Washington Twp. (Gloucester) 

“The best case scenario is when we can follow through on something later. Let’s say there’s something they come to me and have a question about, and we work on a plan to fix it. They write down the plan, I work on it, and there’s some sort of follow through maybe a couple months later…It’s really not that we’re going to get a 100 percent solution in one sit-down, but it’s the start of a more meaningful plan.”

—Bryan Lowe
All subjects, Grade 5, Clark

“Come to the meeting with an open mind and see yourself as an ally with the teacher working for a common endgame: Your child’s success. When there’s productive dialogue and communication between teachers and parents, the child wins.”

—Leah Jerome
History, Grades 9-12, Hillsdale

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