It’s mid-year, and parents that means it’s time for mid-year parent-teacher conferences. Walking into a parent/teacher conference can be exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time. Cue the sweaty palms! What if your child isn’t doing well? What is the teacher going to say? It’s the moment of truth: How is my child REALLY doing? This is your time to ask questions and get immediate feedback. But, with so much to cover in a short amount of time, it can feel overwhelming. That’s why today, I’m helping parents sitting on the other side of the teacher table be prepared and get the most out of their conference. Here is a list of questions every parent should ask when sitting with their child’s teacher this spring and most importantly-WHY YOU MUST ASK THESE QUESTIONS!
Are you a teacher looking for some guidance on your side of parent-teacher conference? Check out this post!
Question 1: How is my child doing in the main subject areas (Reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies)?
This is the question most parents are prepared to ask, and the easiest for teachers to show their data on. Remember to ask the teacher to explain any assessment tools used to gather this data besides just the weekly tests/quizzes.
Question 2: What do you believe are my child’s strengths/weaknesses?
Children can be very different at home than at school. It is important to know the strengths and weaknesses at school. You can use this information to support from home. Teachers can use it as a part of educating the whole child (not just looking at the recorded grades/data) This question can lead to discussions on social, emotional and behavioral feedback.
Question 3: How do you prefer to communicate? (Email, phone, text, planner)
With so many forms of communication, be sure to ask which mode is preferred. This helps to ensure a timely response. Need another way to communicate? Check here to see why I love this easy to use parent communication app!
Question 4: What can I do at home to support what is being done in the classroom?
Besides completing the required homework, asking this question gives the teacher a chance to give you ideas that are tailored specifically to your child’s needs.
Question 5: How is my child doing socially? (have friends, includes others, being left out, etc.)
Often, we think academics is the only thing that matters when it comes to school, but school is so much more than just academics. Finding out the teacher’s perspective of how your child is doing on a social level can give important feedback. Not all kids have open dialogue about their school day with their parents, so asking this can be very insightful.
I know it can be hard to remember all these questions, that’s why I made this handy-dandy quick print sheet! (Click here or the picture to download it!)
Question 6: How does my child compare to others on a behavioral, social, and academic level?
Finding out where they stand compared to their peers can help influence which areas you can focus extra attention on.
Question 7: What is being done to ensure my child is reaching his/her academic goals?
There are many resources available at school, be sure to ask about them. This is a way to gain access to technology resources, find out about programs, check whether your child qualifies for services, and gain information on the type of progress monitoring tools being used.
Remember: you and your child’s teacher have the same goal: you both want your child to do well at school. Asking this question opens up the dialogue for a better partnership along your child’s educational path.
Question 8: How does my child contribute to the class community?
This gives the teacher a chance to mention all the ways your child contributes to the class, besides just focusing on their grades. You may find out that your child is a great leader, helper, friend, raises their hand for discussions, and feedback on their work habits.
Question 9: Do you have any concerns about my child?
This is probably the hardest one to ask… and for good reason. Who wants to hear anything negative about their child. As a mama of two little angels myself, I dread having to ask this question. But, asking this simple question opens the door for your child’s teacher to mention any issues that might be uncomfortable to bring to a parent’s attention. It shows you are open to hear about ways to help your child improve, or topics of conversation to have with your child after the conference.
When parents and teachers work together, the results are powerful! Taking an initiative to become more involved in your child’s education can start with just asking the right questions. Do you have any other questions to add to the list? What about from the teachers?
I can’t end this post without sharing that this post was written in conjunction with a sweet friend of mine, Rayna Schuster. Rayna is a former elementary teacher and mama to three beautiful children. Her experience in education coupled with the love of her children makes Rayna one of my go-to people for all things parenting and education related! Thank you again, Rayna, for all your amazing work and gentle guidance through this parenting journey.
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