Whenever I am involved in a parent-teacher meeting, I always go over (analyze) with the teacher well ahead of time what happened with the student (before, leading up to, and after). Then we zoom out and try and look at it from different perspectives:
Could there have been a different way to approach the situation? Were there maybe other options? If so, could I suggest them during the meeting as a next step? Is there anything to be learned here on my part? How do we think the parent will see it?
In my experience, this reflection often invites openness within the teacher, and the meeting ends up being pretty productive. By using this strategy, I have found that teachers will go into the meeting less stressed and confrontational (or with their guard up), and more solutions oriented.
Some are quick to judge, calling others brown nosers, etc. because they meet often with you? Here is what I have done in the past to counter that, and find it quite effective:
During meetings, I actually share what I am doing with individual teachers that I meet pertaining to their growth. Then, I just lay it out: “Now I know that not all of you have had the chance to meet with me to talk about your growth in particular, and that you might be wondering what this is all about. But I am inviting everyone that would like to give it a try, to meet with me. I will send you a Calendly link, and you just need to pick a date & time! No pressure, just give it a try. I guarantee that it will not be a waste of your time!”
This puts the ownership of the decision in their hands. If you choose not to meet me, then you forfeit your right to comment about it. Now, there will always be some that will not change their behaviour. In those cases, I usually approach them 1 on 1 and personalize the invitation.
Using this approach, I have seen school culture take a turn for the better, giving a voice to those who strive to improve, while silencing the negative.
Give these strategies a try, and let me know how it worked out!