All parents want to know about their child’s progress at school and attending a parent-teacher meeting is one of the best ways to find out.
Attending these meetings is especially important because not only do they give you a clear understanding of how your child’s school year is going, but they also help you adjust your approach for the future to make sure that the following year will be better than the last.
So, since you have taken time out of your busy schedule to meet the teachers in person why not use the time to the fullest and try to squeeze maximum benefit out of it?
Knowing which questions to ask and what to look out for will help you better understand your child’s needs and make decisions that will be most beneficial for their future.
What type of questions to ask at your next parent-teacher meeting.
The vast majority of parents want to know about their children’s academic success, but perhaps the best opening question is about a non-academic topic. It is essential to know how your child is behaving at school since their approach to studying will help you understand their academic achievements (or lack thereof) much better.
You can start a conversation with general open-ended questions and allow the teacher to provide you with the information they deem most significant.
Next, you can ask the teacher if your child has had any specific problems e. g. a short attention span, being hyperactive, or being distracted during the lessons. If there is a problem it is better to face it right away and nip it in the bud so that it doesn’t become a long-term habit and hinder their success later on.
One more thing you might want to ask about is whether your child asks questions during lessons. If children are unsure about the topic of the discussion they need to ask additional questions to clear up the confusion; however, if the child is shy they may avoid speaking up and thus go home without understanding the topic fully.
Also, do not leave the meeting without finding out whether your child gets along with their classmates.
Academic success is not the only thing that’s important; your child’s emotional stability and good interpersonal skills are also vital for their proper development.
Parents should be aware of how their children are fitting into their school environment. Asking about your child’s relationship with other students will also help you identify and stop any cases of bullying if they exist.
Children are easily influenced by their peers and their circle of friends can have a monumental impact on their behavior so finding out who your child hangs out with is crucial.
Motivating Your Child
Another thing you can determine at the parent-teacher conference is which approach works best for increasing your child's motivation. It goes without saying that you want what’s best for your child and so does the teacher.
Both of you share the same goal, you want to motivate your child to learn as much as possible and become a productive member of society. However, both teachers and you might need to tweak your approach in order to achieve the best results.
Some children require a softer technique, whereas others may benefit from a tougher approach. You can swap information with the teachers and together you can determine which approach is the best motivator for your child.
Moreover, you can inquire about how to interpret the results of the report book. Some parents tend to jump to conclusions if they spot several B’s in their child’s report book.
However, getting a B doesn’t necessarily mean that your child is weak in the subject. You can talk to the teacher and find out whether the lower grade is due to your child’s inability to master the course or due to something else. You may even ask some teachers about the class average; however, not all of them will be open to giving away that information.
But if your child’s teacher provides this information it will help put things into perspective. For example, if most of the pupils in the class got B in that subject this means that the course itself is difficult and it is not your child who has a problem. After all, grades should not define worth and parents should not place too much emphasis on exam results.
And finally, don’t be surprised if you discover that your child has been acting differently at school than he or she does at home.
Children are impressionable creatures and they tend to adapt their behavior to better fit into their environment. So even if you think that you know your child like the back of your hand you still may discover something unexpected at the parent-teacher meeting. Sometimes, it is their friends who influence your child's results and you will need to find ways to manage it.
Some final words
In the end, the rules about parent teacher meetings are not set in stone. You can raise any topic you think is worthy of discussion with the teacher. This is the time to tell teachers about the things that frustrate you and listen to them when they explain things from their point of you.
If you take an active part in the parent-teacher meetings (PTM) and have an open-hearted discussion with your child’s teachers you will come out of the room knowing more about your child than you did going in.
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