Now that the school year is in full swing, many classes will be starting their first round of parent teacher interviews. These interviews generally only run for 5-10 minutes, so it’s really important to be prepared with any questions you want answered before you meet with the teacher.
Don’t forget that the first parent teacher interviews are as much an opportunity for the teacher to ask you about your child, as they are for you to ask questions about their education.
Bear in mind that the first set of parent teacher interviews are generally held in Term 1, which means that the teacher has probably only known your child for a few weeks, whereas you’ve known them their whole life! So don’t be surprised if the teacher initiates the majority of the discussion during the interview and asks you a lot of questions about your child. This information is essential for the teacher to be able to develop an appropriate learning plan for your child.
There are however, a few important questions that you should ask during the initial parent teacher interviews. These will give you a great understanding of how your little one is settling in to their new class. The main questions to ask are:
- Is my child happy in class?
- Has my child made friends?
- Are there any issues in the playground?
- What are my child’s academic strengths and weaknesses?
- What areas do we need to focus on at home?
- Does my child participate in discussions and activities?
- What expectations does the school have in regards to homework?
- What is the best way for me to contact you?
If you have any concerns that you feel will require a longer discussion, then it’s a good idea to organize a separate appointment time with the teacher on a different day. Parent teacher interview nights are incredibly busy and you don’t want to keep other parents waiting if your appointment time runs over.
One of the most important things to remember is to go into the interviews with an open mind. Generally teachers will talk about your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Rather than become defensive if the teacher brings up an issue they have noticed in the classroom or playground, talk about it with them rationally and come up with an action plan that can be implemented at school and home. Teachers really do have your child’s best interests at heart and will be more than willing to work together with you on any social or educational concerns.
While parent teacher interviews are a great chance to meet your child’s teacher, they are really only the very beginning of your relationship. If possible, try and communicate regularly, whether it be through a quick email, phone call, note, or even just by popping into the classroom. Regular communication between parents and teachers is absolutely essential to your child’s education.
So don’t be worried about parent teacher interviews – use them as a chance to learn about your child’s education and find out ways you can support their learning at home.