For parents of school-age children, October brings to mind a variety of thoughts: Fall Break, jacket weather, field trips, and the long-awaited Halloween party. October is also the time when parents sit down with their child's teacher to discuss their child's progress, grades, strengths and areas for growth. You are there to focus on your child, but this is also a time to find out more about the classroom, teacher, school, and expectations moving forward.
Before you head into your next parent conference, take this list of what to ask to make the most of your meeting:
- Is my child working up to his/her ability and grade level?
- How do you evaluate/assess skills and concepts?
- What are my child's strengths and areas for growth?
- How does my child learn best?
- How long should homework take each night?
- What can I do to help my child at home?
- How is my child doing socially?
- Are there any apps you recommend to help with academic content?
- Do you have any questions for me?
These meetings are only beneficial when the parents and the teacher are open and honest. At the end of the day, both parties want what's best for the child. By asking questions and gathering information, parents can then understand the why, how, when, and what questions that surround their child's education.
There are times when teachers deliver hard news, whether it involves an academic, social, or therapy need. As a parent, this hurts our hearts, which can cause us to become defensive. Instead of shutting down or dismissing a teacher's concern, ask more questions and find a way to get to the bottom of the issue. Sometimes, an additional meeting is needed to establish an action plan that specifically addresses ways to support your child.
Our children spend more waking hours at school than at home. This conference is just the beginning in building a rapport with your child's teacher and school. Be yourself, be honest, be open, and most of all, be an advocate for your child.