12 questions to ask during parent-teacher interviews

Parent-teacher interviews are one of the most useful tools we have as parents to ensure our children get the most out of their education. But as helpful as they are, they can be downright stressful for everyone involved. Parents want to know how their children are doing, and teachers want to make sure they communicate everything a parent needs to know about their teaching style and the child’s performance in school, all in a short period of time.

With so much to cover in such a short time, we’ve put together some tips on what parents can do to get the most out of parent-teacher interviews.

The purpose of parent-teacher interviews

Ultimately, parents and teachers share similar priorities when it comes to these meetings.

Parents should seek insight into how their child’s school day is going. They may want to assess their children’s academic, social, and emotional outcomes while they are separated. Likewise, teachers work to find out what is happening at home for the children they teach and what impact it might have on their development. Their parents’ relationships, what they do in the evenings and whether they are happy at home all play a role.

The ultimate goal of parents and teachers should be to have a comprehensive understanding of what is happening to the child in their daily life, as this informs their academic performance.

Questions to ask during a parent-teacher interview

Building a healthy partnership with your child’s teacher can make all the difference in their school experience. So you need to make sure you ask the right questions during your meeting.

Ask and answer questions about your child’s life

1. Can I tell you about my child?

No one knows your child better than you, so it’s your job to help your child’s teacher learn more. Tell them what motivates your child, what he finds inspiring and motivating and what he doesn’t like so much. Describe their skills and talents, their strengths and weaknesses. This is the most important thing you can do for your child’s teacher: you give them insight into who they are.

2. Can I talk to you about what’s going on at home?

Situations like illness, divorce, or the arrival of a new baby can affect your child’s school experience, so inform your child’s teacher of these circumstances. Even knowing when the child spends time with one parent or another can be useful information.

If home life circumstances change drastically between meetings, be sure to send a note to your child’s teacher to let them know.

3. How is my child doing socially?

One of the priorities of a parent-teacher interview should be to discuss your child’s social skills and peer relationships. A child’s social development is just as important as their academic development, and your child’s teacher will have made useful observations that they can share with you. Although parents often forget to ask about this topic, it is crucial to understand how children get along with others when they are not with their family. Are they good at making friends? Do they help others?

These are all important skills that help measure a child’s overall development.

4. How is my child emotionally?

It’s important to ask about your child’s emotional health at school. For example, is your child generally happy? Are there certain times of the day when your child seems stressed or agitated?

Find out about your child’s academic performance

5. What are my child’s academic strengths and weaknesses?

Your child’s teacher sees your child from a different perspective than you. Ask the teacher what personal weaknesses your child needs to work on and listen to the answer with an open mind. Also find out about their strengths so you can encourage them to continue doing good work.

Parents may have higher academic expectations of their children, especially at the beginning of the year. Getting a specific point of view from the class can therefore be revealing.

6. Is my child’s performance appropriate for his or her age and stage of development?

During a parent-teacher interview, parents should expect to see examples of their child’s work. It’s worth considering whether this meets expected performance for their age and stage, but be careful to avoid comparison and competition with other children in the class. Every child is different and has different strengths and learning abilities.

Teachers will be sure to let parents know if they are concerned about their child’s performance. So it’s not something parents should obsess over. The most important thing here is whether your child’s performance is where it should be, and your child’s teacher will be able to tell you definitively.

7. What do academic performance evaluations mean?

When it comes to standardized tests and other assessment results, parents can be left with many questions. However, assessments are often set at the school level to track progress, and they may not be relevant overall.

Your child’s teacher can tell you if your child is behind in a skill or subject, such as math or English. Armed with this information, you can create a plan with your child to work harder in this area before it’s too late. Collaboration helps: You and your child’s teacher can work together to develop a plan for your child’s progress.

There may be specific things you can do at home to help, such as hire a tutor or get help with homework.

Questions to ask if your child is having difficulty at school

9. Can I share a concern?

If you are concerned about a situation at school, talk to the teacher. The worst thing you can do is stay silent and wait until things come to a head. Chances are that if you’ve spotted an issue, it hasn’t escaped the teacher’s attention either – and they’ll be happy that you’ve raised it, as long as it’s done respectfully .

For example, if you are concerned about the amount of time your child spends on homework, now is the time to open the discussion with their teacher. Teachers and parents all have the same goal: to do what they can to ensure that children have a successful school year.

10. Can you tell me about a specific situation?

When your child complains or is concerned about what is happening at school, it is a good idea to ask the teacher for clarification, because often your child’s point of view is the only one you have heard .

This could include anything from a problem between peers to a teacher your child is having difficulty with. If you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere after the meeting, contact the manager about specific situations.

Let’s end with these important questions

11. How can I help you at home to support what you are doing in class?

It’s a good idea to ask teachers how you can support what they’re doing in the classroom. There may be supplies you can purchase, prep work you can do at home, or skill exercises you can incorporate into your child’s routine at home. This is one of the most important questions a parent can ask. The more involved parents are, the fewer difficulties children tend to have.

12. What is the best way to communicate with you?

Teachers have many students and parents trying to talk to them during any given school day, so it’s important to understand how they prefer to communicate. Some teachers prefer email, telephone or face-to-face. Find out which method your child’s teacher prefers so you can best communicate your questions or concerns.


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