A children's classroom


Yes, You Should Go To Parent-Teacher Interviews And Here’s What To Keep In Mind

Mar 22, 2018

When it comes to report card season, my kids are anxious about how they’ll do, but I’m anxious about parent-teacher interviews.

My kids’ teachers rarely ask to meet, but I always set up an interview anyway. Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting the teachers’ time (even though they say I’m not).

Still, my husband and I sit in the small chairs and use our 15 minutes to admit we don’t really have any concerns about our kids but just wanted to check in: Are they doing okay socially? What more can they tell me that wasn’t on the report card? Should we be on the lookout for anything?

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But I respect that teachers are a busy bunch and want to make the most of parent-teacher interviews, even when teachers don’t ask to meet. And so I asked some teacher friends: Should I go to parent-teacher interviews — even if it’s just to check in? The resounding answer was yes.

If you do go to parent-teacher interviews, here are a few tips on how to prepare.

Talk To Your Child

We try and set aside time to talk to our kids about school every day (they’re still young enough to actually answer our questions). This gives us a good sense of what’s going on at school, who they’re getting along with, who they’re not and the classroom dynamics. Sometimes they try and tell us something that happened at school but it gets lost in translation, so parent-teacher interviews are a good way to sort out what really went down.

Show Up And Ask Questions

You might think that it’s more important to meet with the teacher when your kids are older, but actually, meeting with your child’s teacher right from the start sets them up for later success. As a way to get the conversation going, ask questions like, “What can I do to help at home?” Don’t know what else to ask? Toronto School Board trustee Shelley Laskin has put together a list of suggested questions for parents.

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Take Notes And Keep An Open Mind

You’re not going to remember everything so bring a notebook and pen along to jot down a few points. This is also helpful if you need to work out a plan with the teacher should your child need extra help. Remember, you and your child’s teacher both want the same thing — for your child to succeed in school — so keep an open mind if something comes up that surprises you.

Remember: You Don’t Have To Wait For Parent-Teacher Interviews To Meet

Most schools have a meet-the-teacher night at the beginning of the school year and community events throughout which teachers often attend. If you do have a concern though, don’t talk to teachers about it then. They may not have the time or attention to give you at an event, so set up a separate meeting. If you can’t make it in person, most teachers are able to chat by phone.

Article Author Kelly Pedro
Kelly Pedro

Kelly Pedro is a former journalist turned freelance writer who specializes in writing about education, health and literacy. Her work has appeared in several publications including The London Free Press, The Toronto Star and Today’s Parent. She lives in Kitchener, Ontario with her husband, three children and Juno, the Bernese mountain dog. Connect with Kelly on her website, Twitter, LinkedIn or Alignable.

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