With the school year underway, parent-teacher conferences are soon to follow. Now that your teacher has an idea of your child's learning style and personality, it's time to sit down and see where things stand.

If you get confused or anxious about parent-teacher conference expectations, you're not alone. Many parents get nervous when the email or note comes home requesting a meeting. But this is a great opportunity for face-to-face time with your child's teacher and there are ways to make it go smoothly.

1. Meet with the teacher.

Don't ignore a conference request. Whether your child is excelling or having difficulties, oblige a teacher's request to meet in person.

2. Talk to your child.

Find out how things are going both socially and academically. Ask open-ended questions to get engaged answers. Write down the positive and negative feedback you receive; it serves as a springboard for questions to ask at the conference.

3. Tell your child about the conference.

When appropriate, let your child know about the scheduled meeting, especially if it's occurring during school hours — otherwise she might be nervous that you're talking to the teacher about her. Explain the meeting's purpose. Ask if there's anything she'd like you to discuss.

4. Schedule a conference without your child present.

Unless the teacher requests that your child attends, meet when your child isn't in the room. Conversations can be more open and candid.

5. Arrive early.

Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early so you don't shorten your time with the teacher and affect the other conferences she may have scheduled. If you know you're going to be late, see if it's more appropriate to reschedule for another day and time.

6. Come prepared.

Write down any questions you want to ask or topics you want to discuss. Doing so helps the conference stay on task.

7. Bring a positive attitude.

You and the teacher have your child's best interest in mind, but discussing tough issues can be difficult. Avoid being defensive or causing defensiveness. Address concerns respectfully and listen to what the teacher has to say. You may know your child, but he or she knows education and classroom environments.

8. Establish goals.

Have a clear understanding of everyone's expectations and goals. This includes you, your child and her teacher. Develop an action plan of what to continue doing and what to change.

9, Find out the preferred communication method.

Ask the best way to contact the teacher with future questions, be it email, notes, or phone calls.

10. Follow through.

If the teacher requests your help in addressing specific concerns, follow through with concrete action steps. Examples might include tutoring services or changing routines at home.

11. Follow up.

Keep the teacher informed of your child's progress or concerns you have. Don't hesitate to request an additional meeting.

12. Update your child.

Start with the positive things her teacher had to say and talk about concerns you or the teacher discussed. Explain how the three of you can work together to ensure she has a great school year.