Parent-teacher conferences. Those three words can raise stress levels
among both students and parents. But whether parents love or loathe
parent-teacher interviews, the interview is an important part of taking an
active role in a child’s school success.
Making the parent-teacher interview an informative, rewarding, and stress-free experience is not as difficult as it may seem, but it does require a little preparation work.
Parents should go into the interview informed. It’s not enough to just show up. Parents need to have read the report card thoroughly and arrive with questions that will help them gain better insight into how their child is doing in school.
I recommend that parents review their child’s report cards and recent schoolwork and then compare. Do the homework grades reflect the grades on the report card? If there are discrepancies, parents should take note of them, bring examples, and be prepared to discuss their concerns at the interview.
I also suggest talking to your child about his or her classroom experience. When parents are in doubt, they should go to the source. Who knows better about your child’s classroom behavior than your child? Ask your child if there is anything that you should know about. This information can keep you from getting blindsided when you meet with the teacher.
During the meeting I advise parents to remain calm, take notes, and identify goals. Parent-teacher interviews are relatively short as teachers only have a limited amount of time to spend with each family. Taking notes and identifying
goals will help parents remember any issues that were discussed and provide
help in deciding which course of action to take.
It is important for everybody to agree on the same goals. After all, parents and teachers are partners in a child’s success.
Quick Tips For Successful Parent-Teacher Interviews (More tips are available at oxfordlearning.com)
- Remain calm
- Don’t be confrontational
- Ask for suggestions
- Ask for tips on what you can do at home to support your child
- Keep questions specific: don’t ask, “How is Timmy doing?” Ask instead, “ Is Timmy doing well in math?”
- Take notes
- Follow up