Parent-Teacher Conferences are stressful in the extreme.
Teachers want to show the parents all the hard work their child has put in, and also not be yelled at because a child is not making progress or has a behavior concern.
Parents want to find out what their kid has been up to, and also discuss academic success and behavior concerns without being made to feel guilty.
It can be easy to get off-track at a PTC.
Use these questions to help keep you focused, and avoid conflict, at your next Parent-Teacher Conference!
What do these grades mean for my child?
This is important for students who get rating grades and not letter grade or percentage grades. What does that “4” rating mean for my student?
Even for students who earn traditional grades, one person’s “C” might be abject failure, but another kid’s biggest win.
You need to know what a grade or rating means for your specific child, and why it means that.
Tell me about his/her behavior in class
Kids act differently in different situations and with different people. You need to know what your child is like in school, since behavior is often the root of academic issues.
Be prepared to hear both positive AND negative things about your child without getting defensive or blaming the teacher or other children.
Once you know how your child is behaving, you should ask…
How (X) this affecting his/her grades?
Again, be ready to hear both good and bad things.
If your child is chatty, that might be leading to missed information or directions. These can lower grades and comprehension over time.
Get ready to act with the teacher to correct these issues.
Tell me about his/her friends
You want to hear: good kids, helpful, conscientious, studious, and other positive adjectives.
If you hear: troublesome, troublemakers, disruptive, or disrespectful, you have opened another can of worms.
You need to get a handle on who these kids are and why your child is hanging with them. Then, find a better social outlet, like Scouts, a church group, or a after-school club or sports team.
You want your child hanging out with positive influences.
What are my child’s work habits like?
Every child works differently, and to best serve your child you need to know what those are. Teachers are trained to find out learning styles and preferences, and would love to share this information with you.
If your child works better with music on, or in a group, or in total silence, you need to know.
You can also make connections between recent patterns in behavior and home/life changes. Some kids might not be able to focus during a rough patch at home, or may become hyper-focused.
As a parent, you can shed some light on these changes at home for the teacher and work together to help your child through this tough time.
What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
Teachers see children in a different light than parents, and this can help parents to notice hidden talents!
This question can also help parents to target weaknesses. If the teacher notices a weakness in persistence, or something more concrete like math facts, parents can make moves to build up these skills at home or with a tutor.
What can we do together to build this child up?
Teachers and parents need to be on the same team: Team Kid!
Asking this question allows you to brainstorm ideas together to move your child forward. This could be providing extra enrichment work at school, or cooking together at home. Children can build skills and confidence in any number of ways, and working with the teacher will allow you to think of more ways to help your child grow.
Want even more ideas for Parent Teach Conferences?
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