Ready for another checkup? Only this checkup isn’t at the doctor’s office, it’s at your child’s school: It’s parent-teacher conference time!
Did you know that parental involvement is a strong predictor of academic success? Teachers want you to attend conferences and be involved in your children’s school lives. This is an exciting opportunity for both you and the teacher!
To make the most of this opportunity, we’ve put together a few questions for your child before the conference and 10 important questions to ask during a parent-teacher conference. By asking these questions, you will get a better understanding of how your child is doing in school and the values and beliefs of your child’s teacher, which will both be extremely valuable as the school year continues.
Pre-conference Questions to Ask Your Child:
1. Ask your child how they complete homework for each class.
2. For each class, ask your child to write down what is going well and what they think is challenging for them.
3. Ask your child to write a question or two they have for each class.
4. Ask them to think about some ways they could be more successful in each class.
Note: Tell your child it’s okay to express any frustration they may have in the class, and help them express this constructively.
Questions to Ask During Parent-Teacher Conferences:
1. How do you best prefer to communicate with me? (Email? Phone? Text? Notes?)
2. What do you see as my child’s strengths?
3. What do you think are the academic challenges for my child?
4. Is my child on grade level for reading, math and writing?
5. How does the school handle standardized testing and prep for those tests? Are there ramifications for my child due to state testing results?
6. Do you have any concerns with how my child is turning in or completing homework?
7. Are there skills from last year you think we should work on at home so they’re caught up right now?
8. Do you feel my child is reaching their potential in your class?
9. What kinds of things do you think my child could do to improve their performance in your class?
10. What can I do at home to support what you’re doing in the classroom?
If you are concerned about something, start with a positive comment first such as, “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.” Then use an “I message” such as, “I’m concerned,” to bring up the topic. Also, be sure to tell the teacher what you’re doing at home to solve the problem. That will show your intent to work with the teacher to find the best solution for your child.
Also, if you feel the teacher hasn’t had a chance to really get to know your child yet, you might ask, “May I share some information about my child?”
It can be helpful to offer up some background information about your child to help the teacher connect with what might be happening in school. Aside from what your child likes or dislikes, perhaps what motivates them, strengths and weaknesses or even if there are any issues at home or with anxiety that should be shared.
Above all, remember to keep your conference friendly and positive. Just like the adage says, you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Be positive and solution-oriented.
You and your child’s teacher can be a strong team of support for your child. Make this checkup a helpful stepping-stone in a successful parent-school partnership.
And, if at any point during the school year you think your child could use extra help outside of the classroom, consider contacting your local Sylvan Learning to learn more about our resources. From homework help to personalized tutoring in any subject, Sylvan is here to help your child have the best school year possible!