Let the conferences begin.
Make sure you do your homework before meeting with parents. If you are going to say something, whether it is academic, or a reference to a social behavior, have evidence. I can't stress enough the importance of providing specific examples for whatever you say. Have assessment scores ready for academic references. When sharing social behaviors, good or bad, have specific examples with dates. Be prepared, but don't do a data dumping meeting.
Begin the conference with, "What is your perception of how the beginning of the year is going for your child?" Instantly, you will find out the direction the conference will be taking. You will also discover if the parents have a realistic perception of the child's academic level and social behaviors.
I'm sure you've already heard this, but I'll say it again, share the positives first and then your concerns. Ask questions,e.g. "Who does your child consider his/her friends?" "What does your child do after school?" "Is their anything that I (teacher) should be aware of?"
To bring closure to the meeting, do a summary of the main points and something that parents can do at home to support their child.
Lastly, take notes. Fill in the details after the parents leave. I discourage taking notes on a computer during the conference. As soon as you put the computer up you have put a barrier between you and the parents. Parents, who have sat through conferences where the teacher took notes on the computer, said they felt the teacher was disconnected and that the clicking was annoying.
If you find that you are not able to cover all the information at this meeting, ask if you can schedule a follow-up meeting.
Relax. Smile. Recognize that this is a partnership. You need the parents to understand and support their child, and you.
I hope you are finding these strategies helpful and will share this blogsite with colleagues and friends.
If you haven't already, please become a "Follower."
Thank you and Best Effort,