Thursday, August 30, 2012

Talking to Your Child’s Teacher

Parent-Teacher-Conference-Raleigh-Apex-Cary-DurhamTalking to Your Child’s Teacher

30 Important Questions to Ask Your Child’s Teacher

Talking with your child’s teacher can be a great conversation if you are looking to increase partnership with the teacher.  Many times parents are looking for information about their child’s performance and days in school, but don’t know what to ask or how to ask it


Think about it as a way to exchange information about your child.  Is what you see at home matching what the teacher sees at school?  Are the teacher’s concerns your concerns and if not, why is the teacher concerned about something different?  These are all just beginning questions and you don’t need to ask them all if you don’t need or already know the information.  After having sat through both sides of the situation, as a teacher and a mother, it can be a great idea to listen and learn from both sides. 

Note: If you do have some critical issues or problems or want to bring up major concerns, give the teacher advance notice.  It is never a good idea to blindside a teacher or put him immediately on the defensive.  Give her the benefit of knowing your concerns and ask her to come prepared about the issue.  

You can also ask if the principal or assistant principal can sit in on the conference.  While this is not the usual practice, if there is a problem that needs more involvement than just the classroom teacher, you may want more people involved in the school.  


Here is one more thought.  If your child is above 1st or 2nd grade, you may want to schedule the conference with the teacher while the student is present.  Many times it is important for the student to hear concerns and praise from both parents and teachers about her school performance.  The student may also have some questions of his own.  If there is a need for you to share private family information or concerns, the child can wait in the hallway while you finish with the teacher.


Here are the sample questions you may want to ask your child’s teacher at a scheduled conference during the year.  You don't need (and probably won't need) to ask them all.

  1. What positives are you seeing in my child?

  2. What concerns or roadblocks are you seeing?

  3. How are they doing socially in the class?

  4. How can I help my child progress – ask about specifics that you can do at home to support the learning in the classroom?

  5. How does my child learn best?

  6. What tests will be given this year and how often will they be given?

  7. Are assignments online or is my child required to write them down?  Where are they posted?

  8. How are grades determined (attendance, tests, quizzes, participation, etc?)?

  9. How much time should my child be spending on homework?

  10. What are the 4-5 major changes in this grade level as compared to the last one that my child will have to adjust to?

  11. Are there any clubs or support programs you think might be best for my child?

  12. How would you like us to communicate with you?  Email, phone, note, etc…And this is how you can best reach us.

  13. Do you need help for school events?

  14. Do you have ways we can volunteer in and out of the classroom (Depending on your schedule)

  15. Does my child seem engaged during class?

  16. Who are my child’s friends?  Does she get along with both students and adults?

  17. Does my child follow directions clearly and get work done on time?

  18. What would you like to know as his teacher that may be helpful to you?

  19.  In what areas do you think my child has potential?

  20. What is or has been the greatest area of improvement?

  21.  How would you describe my child’s personality?

  22.  Has my child been doing homework and doing it on time?

  23.  How is my child’s organization?

  24. Can I see where he/she sits and does he or she get distracted or talk with neighbors?

  25. Do you have some recommendations for us as parents?

  26. Can I have a copy of the class schedule?

  27. Are there some materials that you would like that I can donate?

  28. What do you need to know about my child that will help you teach him better?

  29. Is there any tutoring available for my child?

  30. Are there parent support groups?

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