Great Questions to Ask at the Parent Teacher Conference

By Sylvan Learning

Middle School

Emily Levitt, Vice President of Communications at Sylvan Learning, was featured in an article by Your Teen Magazine for Parents. Please visit their website to read the article, Effective Parent Teacher Conferences: The Questions to Ask.

Parent teacher conferences are a great time to check in with your child’s teacher about your child’s academic progress and social development. But given the number of teachers you’re scheduled to meet with, and the relatively short amount of time you have to spend with each of them, it can be challenging to get a complete picture of how your child is progressing.

Emily Levitt, Vice President of Communications at Sylvan Learning, suggests having a few targeted questions ready to go to help get the most out of your time and gain the most insight. Based on her experience as a classroom teacher, she recommends asking the following questions:

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1. What do you think are the most important skills to have in order to succeed in this class?

2. Are some types of assignments weighted more heavily than others?

3. What strengths and weaknesses do you see in my child?

4. Is my child raising their hand and participating in class?

5. Is my child asking for help when they need it?

And if you’re concerned about low grades, Levitt suggests parents ask:

6. Do you think this reflects a lack of effort on my child’s part, or a lack of understanding of the material?

7. What can I do as a parent to provide support at home?

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Levitt also advises parents to take the opportunity to uncover any social issues that may be impacting a student’s performance. If a parent has potential concerns about bullying, for example, be sure to ask the teacher:

8. How is my child interacting with their peers?

9. Do you see any problems I should be aware of?

And if you haven’t done so already, let the teacher know of any extenuating circumstances that could affect your child’s academic performance, such as a death in the family, divorce or an extended illness.

Remember, you and your child’s teacher are a team and share the same goal — helping your child succeed — which is why one-on-one conferences are a great time to lay the groundwork for effective communication throughout the whole school year.

If you and your child’s teacher think that tutoring could benefit your child, Sylvan is here to help! Our certified tutors are experts at boosting skills and confidence. For more information, contact your local Sylvan!