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By Chris Moss • March 22, 2017

Three parents' evening pitfalls to avoid

Ask any teacher about parents' evening and they'll have a few tales to tell. When you’re busy teaching a full timetable, parents’ evening can seem like an uphill struggle and little mistakes can fall through the cracks.

Some teachers might even feel that parents’ evening can be a waste of time. Perhaps it would be better spent getting ahead with planning and marking.

But when it goes well, parents’ evening is a golden opportunity to get your pupils on track for success and make your life easier for the rest of the academic year.

Here are some common pitfalls to avoid if you want to make the most of your next parents’ evening.

Download our free Parents' Evening Checklist

Fail to plan for parents' evening?... Plan to fail

How many times have you found yourself frantically gathering printouts, books and mark sheets five minutes before parents’ evening is due to start?

Take a few minutes a week before parents' evening to think about what you need. Then get those resources ready in advance.

Try our parent’s evening checklist to get yourself organised. Then you can use those precious five minutes to get yourself a cup of tea and clear your head before the first appointment.

Getting your facts wrong at parents' evening

Have you ever wrongly accused a child of missing homework or being behind on coursework? It can happen to anyone, but once you’ve done it, it can be difficult to rebuild trust between you, the parent and the child.

To avoid this pitfall, take some time to think about what you want to get from each conversation. Check that you’ve got your facts straight and note your key talking points ahead of schedule. 

Saving bad news for parents’ evening

This pitfall is the worst one to fall into. Avoiding it will help you to build stronger and more meaningful relationships with parents throughout the school year.

It can be tempting to put off contacting parents to discuss an issue with their child’s learning when you know that there is a parents’ evening soon.

But rather than let it fester, why not get the problem out in the open straight away? This frees you up to use parents’ evening as an opportunity to touch base and update the parent, hopefully with good news.

This tactic will also help to keep your appointments within the allotted time. This allows you to follow up with parents unable to attend, instead of digging yourself out of a hole! 

Download our free Parents' Evening Checklist