Did you know that parent involvement in a child’s education is a strong indicator of academic success?
Sometimes as parents we want to leave all the academic worries to the teachers and schools after all you’re paying for them to do that. Although this is understandable, the truth is your involvement is still vital to your child’s success in school.
On days like a parent-teacher conference, you come to realize this.
For many parents, this parent-teacher conference can catch you by surprise and leave you confused on what questions to ask or how to handle it. We help you head in the right direction in this article where we will discuss what’s involved and what questions to ask.
What is a parent-teacher conference?
Parent-teacher conferences or parent-teacher interviews are brief meetings between parents and teachers that last between 10-30 minutes and are scheduled a few times a year. Parent-teacher conferences aim to-
- Get parents involved in their child’s academics
- Share academic progress based on data, assignments, and classroom observation.
- Discuss any concerns that may interfere with your child’s education
The dates are often placed on weekdays, which means parents have to disrupt their schedules to meet up. You can discuss with your child’s school to fix a more convenient time within the week if you are in a tight spot.
Tips for a satisfactory parent-teacher conference
- Do some preparation before you go. We have discussed below what’s important to do before the scheduled date and time.
- Always ask direct and specific questions. Parent-teacher conferences are often brief, so you don’t want to waste a moment of your time on irrelevant questions or broad questions that won’t maximize your time. Our list of questions will help you out.
- Always take notes at the interview to show your seriousness and to ensure you can remember vital points or agreement.
- Don’t take a confrontational approach. Your child’s teacher should be your ally in grooming the educational part of your child’s life. Don’t be hostile during the conference or make their opinion seem irrelevant. Stay positive and polite and take the approach of working together towards a common goal.
What to do before your parent-teacher conference?
Before you jump into what questions should parents ask teachers in a parent-teacher conference, you have to do some groundwork. Here are the steps to help you prepare-
Review your child’s school work
If you haven’t checked your child’s schoolwork anytime earlier, you will have to dive in now. Check your child’s report cards for recent times, their school work, and assignment, and so on. What you are looking for are issues that stand out or progress/decline in any areas. Did your child get better in one area and decline in another? Does your child seem to have challenges in certain areas? How’s their spelling, grammar, math, organization, grades, and more? Compare with what is expected for a child your child’s age. Write out whatever stands out to you or your observations.
Get insight from your child
The parent-teacher interview is about your child, so it’s relevant to gain some insight from them. Ask your child how he/she has been doing in school so far; do they like their teacher; are they experiencing difficulties in any area, do they have questions they want you to ask the teacher; what do they think their teacher will say about them?
Take your child’s answers into consideration and add some to your questions.
What should I ask at a parent-teacher conference?
The right questions help you maximize your time at the parent-teacher interview. Here are some specific questions to ask;
- What are your concerns about my child’s skill level?
- Would you like to share any details about my child’s behavior in school or academic performance?
- What are my child’s best and worst subjects?
- What can we do about the worst ones?
- Is my child good with organizing?
- Does my child follow instructions or listen?
- What do you think about my child’s level of focus and ability to stay on task?
- What can we do at home to help my child’s education?
- How are my child’s reading and understanding?
- Does my child take part actively in class?
- How is my child doing socially?
- What is your homework policy, and how is my child doing with homework?
- Does my child turn in homework on time?
- What type of tests or evaluations will my child take this year?
You can add more questions or less depending on what you think you need to get information about and work with. It’s important to know that sometimes, a parent-teacher conference might have you walking away disappointed or deflated. Not all the answers may be what you want to hear. But disappointment is part of parenting and so is finding the solutions to help your child in areas they find difficult.
What to do after a parent-teacher conference?
There’s a follow-up part to what questions you should ask at a parent-teacher conference. After noting all your answers, take the next steps below to truly reach the benefits of this meeting.
Ask the teacher’s opinion
For those answers that leave you deflated, ask the teacher for suggestions on what you can do to help. These suggestions should lead to step 2.
Create an action plan
Don’t settle for a vague or generic response that leaves you with no way forward. Fix the same goals for your child with the teacher and agree on an action plan you can complete to help your child from home.
Set a goal that can be achieved, measured by results, and is believable for your child. Don’t set the bar above your child’s capability. Part of your plan should involve monitoring and follow-up dates to measure your child’s progress with the teacher. Since this doesn’t mean waiting for another parent-teacher interview, you can choose a more convenient way to communicate with the teacher. For example, via phone call or email.
Seek other ways out
Part of the teacher’s advice may be supplementary education, or you might just know you need such extra help. Our expert online tutors can help restore confidence and success to your child’s education, so you can reach us for help.