We all expect our teachers to prepare for our parent/teacher interviews,
but parents often don’t think about these meetings. If you go in
unprepared, you may miss out on a vital opportunity to discuss your child’s
progress and make a plan for the rest of the semester which would help
your child to succeed.
Most parents see these interviews as a chore, and often get caught off
guard when the feedback isn’t positive. When this happens, they
tend to get defensive and want to get it over with as soon as possible.
This means they miss out a chance to ask questions about their child’s
progress and how any issues can be resolved. Working together with teachers
is the best way to ensure that your child gets the help they need.
Before your meeting, speak with your child about their progress. Ask them
what their teacher has said to them and what their test scores have been
like. Knowing what to expect will prepare you and will mean no nasty surprises.
Write out a list of questions you could potentially ask your teachers (some
are listed below) and always try to find solutions to any problems the
teacher may point out.
Don’t get Defensive
Teachers are trained professionals who get to see your children in a context
that you don’t. They get to see them in class and they also get
to see how they interact with other children. They will probably address
both behavioral and academic issues.
Listen carefully and be respectful of their opinion even if it is upsetting
to you. Ask them how to overcome any obstacles, what you can do at home
to help and how you can work together as a team to improve behavior and marks.
Set realistic goals for your child that you can both work towards achieving.
Ask for a follow up meeting in a month’s time so you can check progress
and update your strategy.
Remember that teachers want your input and value your opinion. Their job
is easier if you can work as a team so that what is happening at school
is reinforced at home. They want your child to succeed as much as you
do and they are open to ideas and goals that will help your child to learn.
Some Questions to Consider
- How can I help you to help my child?
- What goals can we set for the next month?
- How can I support my child in achieving these goals?
- What is my child’s learning style and how can I use this to help
- What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
- What executive functions does my child need to improve?
- How can I help develop these executive functions at home?
- How can I track my child’s progress?
- How can we communicate effectively with each other?
- How can I help you in the classroom?
- Will my child benefit from a one-on-one tutor?