Top 5 Tips for Your Parent-Teacher Conference
The End-of-year Parent-Teacher Conference is around the corner and it’s a great opportunity for you to get feedback from your child’s form teacher and subject teachers before concluding this school year and planning for the holidays.
Since you’ve made the time to meet the teachers in person, why not make the meeting a fruitful one? Having a good communication session with your child’s teachers can help you understand your child’s needs better, and let you make the right decisions to intervene as a parent should there be a need to.
What you should be asking:
Start with the non-academic. Knowing how your child is behaving or their learning attitude can be very helpful when you are trying to understand their academic performance later on.
- How has my child been in class so far?
Asking this open-ended question gives you a good idea of what kind of student your child is and whether they have made any progress throughout the year
If their teachers are having issues with their attention span, find out the reason behind it. Is it due to your child’s personality (some children are more hyper by nature) or are there other forms of distractions in class? There are many ways of helping your hyperactive child expel their extra energy or improving their concentration span, but you need to know if it’s a cause of concern.
Next, you might also want to check with your child’s teacher if your child asks questions in class. Many children are shy by nature, but some do muster the courage to clear their doubts when they are unsure about the lessons taught. Asking your child’s teacher in front of them gives both of you a chance to reassure your child that it is always ok to ask questions when you are learning and gives them a little boost in confidence.
- How is my child getting along with their friends?
Besides academics, your child’s emotional well-being and interpersonal skills are also very important. Find out if your child has problems fitting in and how they are interacting with their friends. Knowing all these might help you see what your child is going through in school and explain some of their actions/attitudes or even the results that they are getting.
Primary 5 and Primary 6 children are heavily subjected to peer influence at their age. Get to know who your child’s good friends are and how your child treats others help you see how good your child’s social skills are, and determine if they are mixing with the right company.
- What works for my child?
School teachers want the best for their students while parents want the best for their children. Sometimes, it is interesting to share with your child’s teachers what “tough” approaches or “soft” approaches work for your child at home and what don’t. Discussing these with their teachers also gives the teachers a chance to share with you about the way they communicate with your child in school. At the end of the day, it’s not a question of who uses the best methods, but rather the variety of alternatives that you can have so that you or your child’s teacher and you know how to communicate with your child more effectively.
- What are some strengths and area of improvements that you have noticed about my child?
You shouldn’t be surprised that some children portray a totally different image in school as compared to home. Your child spends so much time in school under the care of so many teachers. Asking this question invites teachers to share some of their observations of your child. We’re sure you’ll be interested to know if your child has done something that their teachers have taken notice of. Sometimes, you might even uncover soft skills and hidden talents that you might not even know about.
Now, on to the academics.
- How do I interpret the results?
Before you jump to conclusions on how well your child did during SA2, do remember that the results that you see in the report book is merely an alphabet. What that alphabet means depends on several factors.
For example, does getting a B mean that your child is weak in the subject? Find out from your child’s teacher if your child did not perform as expected due to their weaknesses in a component. (For example, for Math, it may be that their grades got pulled down by their problem sums.) Get into specifics. The more you find out, the better you will be able to help your child achieve more the next round.
If your child’s teacher is open to it, ask them about the class average. This helps put your child’s grades into perspective. If your child is getting a B and so is the rest of the class, it might be due to a difficult paper. However, if the class average is an A, then there might be a cause of concern.
You can end the Parent-teacher Conference by sharing any concerns that you have about your child or any issues that frustrates you. Let the teacher explain things from their perspective so that you can understand why things are done in certain ways. Having a face to face conversation with the person in charge can prevent any miscommunication.
Now that you can a clearer picture of what to do for the Parent-Teacher Conference and the questions to ask, it’s time to put them into action!
Let us know how the session went for you in the comments below!