Parent Teacher Conference. When that moment arrives, I’m always a ball of nerves. As a parent, I love to hear about my children’s successes. I already know they’re wonderful, but I also know that they’re perfectly imperfect human beings. So as much as I know I should be embracing the opportunity to help them embrace and overcome their weaknesses, I get nervous. And when I get nervous, I tend to forget to ask important follow-up questions to the information I am given. Parent Teacher Conferences are also my only guaranteed time to meet face to face with my children’s teachers and discuss their progress, so I want to make it count.
To remedy my anxious, scattered brain, I like to go prepared with some questions I know need answering. So whether you’re new to the Parent Teacher Conference experience, a seasoned veteran, or just an anxious mess like me, here are a few questions to help you make the most out of your time with your child’s teacher.
This can be a daunting question. As I said before, our children are perfectly imperfect human beings, just like the rest of us. They can have bad days, be a little too social, or school can even be a little at odds with our children’s personality types. My oldest is incredibly bright, but sitting for long periods of time and focusing when there are a lot of things going on around her is not her strong suit. Because of this, I usually ask this question knowing that staying on task or being focused is going to be an issue. And I ask trying to give the teacher an opportunity to bring it up. I can’t imagine that bringing up the fact that someone’s child is less than perfect is a very appealing task to teachers. So by asking this question, you can give them a hand and open the subject for them. If your child doesn’t have any behavior issues to address, then that’s an easy question to get out of the way.
School is not just about academic learning. A majority of the relationships your children form happen at school. Social development is an important thing to be aware of and teachers have an opportunity to see some of it happening. They may be able to give you an insight that you lack because you’re not there to see it.
This question goes past the idea of scores. Lack of engagement can affect those with high scores as well as those with low scores. If the content being taught isn’t challenging enough or is too challenging, children can shut down. Other aspects outside of school can also impact whether or not a child is putting forth effort. And if your child is struggling, it is helpful to know if engagement is a factor.
Some teachers already have goal planning on the agenda during parent teacher conference, but if they don’t, it’s a great thing to add. It is good for your child to have goals that you and their teacher are aware of. When teachers know your child is working toward a specific goal, they can help keep them focused on their goal and give them helpful reminders if they start slacking off. This is also a good time to make goals since you’re already on the topic of your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
It is a good plan to let your child and their teacher know that you’re invested in their education and their classroom. After all, a child’s first source of learning is the home. And teachers can have valuable information and skills to help you reinforce learning that happens in the classroom. At our last conference, my daughter’s teacher gave me some valuable tips on how to help extend my daughter’s attention span in the classroom that I wouldn’t have thought of. A complement to this question is to suggest some solutions yourself. You know your child and you may have some ideas to help catch your child’s attention.
Parent Teacher Conferences are a great way for your child’s most important teachers to catch up and develop plans so make sure you take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. And feel free to share your go to questions in our comments section.