Tips for making the most out of parent-teacher interviews

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parent-teacher interviewsParent-teacher interviews are a great way to find out how your child is doing in school and to show your interest in your child’s learning and classroom experiences. A 10-15 minute parent-teacher interview can give you insight as to how your child is doing, where your child needs to improve and how you can help.

Parenting expert and author of Parenting through the Storm, Ann Douglas shares her tips on how to make the most of our parent-teacher interviews:

  • Bring a solutions-oriented mindset to the meeting. Remind yourself that you and your child’s teacher have a common goal—a shared desire to help your child have the best possible school year—and that this meeting is an opportunity to make progress on that front together.
  • Remind yourself that the purpose of this meeting is to kick off a year-long conversation about meeting your child’s needs at school. See this as an opportunity to spark a conversation that will continue throughout the remainder of the school year.
  • Ask your child how he thinks things are going at school—if there are any issues he’d like you to carry forward on his behalf. Then make a point of reporting back to him about what you learn during the meeting. Of course, if your child’s school encourages students to participate in parent-teacher interviews directly, you’ll want to give him the opportunity to do so. Hint: Do some role-playing ahead of time so that he can practice advocating for himself in a non-confrontational way. The goal? To teach him how to raise his concerns in a way that will encourage his teacher to want to help.
  • Do your homework. Make a list of questions and concerns ahead of time so that you don’t overlook anything important.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association has put together this list of possible questions that parents might ask during a parent- teacher interview:

  • What activities does my child enjoy most?
  • What do you appreciate about my child?
  • What skills does my child need to develop further? What are the main challenges?
  • What can I do at home to help my child develop skills?
  • How can I best support my child in each subject?
  • How can I follow up on these suggestions?
  • How does my child get along with other students?
  • Is there anything about my child’s behavior or performance you would like to share?
  • What is the best way to contact you? How can we best work together?

Parent-teacher interviews can be a powerful occasion for meaningful communication with your child’s teachers.  It’s a time to build on the relationship you have with your child’s teacher and school and to clarify expectations for all involved in your child’s progress and learning.

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