Parent-Teacher Interviews – Helpful Hints

Vintage Report Card

With the school year in full swing, report cards are just around the corner and before you know it parent-teacher interviews. We know that parents are busier than ever. Yet, these important conferences deserve a place in your calendar.

There is a common misconception that parents should only attend if there are concerns to be discussed. If your child’s report card comes back successful, you might not think there is a need to meet. But there are several important reasons why you should always take the opportunity to sit down with your child’s teacher.

Reasons to Attend

  • Meet the teacher in person and put a face to a name
  • Opportunity to dialogue on progress, achievements, and social well-being
  • Gain an understanding of your child’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Send a message to your child that you are interested in their success

Preparing for a parent-teacher interview can ensure that you will have a positive and successful meeting. Here are some helpful tips:

Getting Ready for the Interview

Talk to your child

  • Find out what they like most and least about school
  • What are their favourite and least favourite subjects
  • Discuss in more detail subjects that they find difficult and if there are carry over problems from previous years

Make a list

  • Prior to the meeting write down the things that you want to talk about with the teacher. For example:
    • Your child’s progress
    • How you, the teacher and the school can work together to best support your child
    • Information you want to share that will help the teacher gain a better understanding of your child

At the Interview

Allow the teacher to express their views and truly listen to the feedback.

Make sure that you ask questions that focus the discussion on topics you find the most relevant and important.

General questions you may want to ask:

  • What kinds of projects and assignments have been planned?
  • How long should my child be spending on homework?
  • How would you assess her/his progress so far this year?
  • Does my child participate in class discussions and activities?
  • How well does my child get along with others?
  • What can I do at home with my child to reinforce what you are teaching in class?

Action Plan

  • Before you leave the interview, you and the teacher should have an action plan to support your child’s learning
  • Be sure you clearly understand what the teacher suggests
  • Agree how you can work together
  • Set up a way to check on your child’s progress

Following up

  • Review the parent teacher interview with your child and discuss any action plans with your child
  • Implement the actions to which you agreed
  • Stay in touch with the teacher to discuss your child’s progress

Meeting your child’s teacher should build a parent-teacher partnership that encourages ongoing communication throughout the year. However, if due to work commitments or personal circumstances, you can’t find the time to attend a meeting in person, then don’t worry, you may be able to speak to teacher over the phone. A lot of schools now use a data analytics platform for teachers and parents that allows for easy and quick communication from teaching staff at a time convenient to you both. Above all, by working closely with your child and establishing a good working relationship with teachers, you can help your child have a great school year.

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Joanne Sallay

Joanne Sallay is a Director at Teachers on Call – a personalized home tutoring service with more than 25 years of experience. Teachers on Call’s Ontario Certified Teachers specialize in providing one-on-one instruction in all subjects and grades including French Immersion tutoring.

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