Parent-teacher interviews are a valuable part of tracking your child’s progress in school. Whether your child is in Grade 2 or in their final year at the secondary level, these interviews are designed to help keep their learning on track.
While they are a great resource, parent-teacher interviews can cause a great deal of anxiety for parents, especially if it is their first time participating in one. Read on to learn more about the purpose of parent-teacher interviews and how to get the most benefit from them.
What are Parent-Teacher Interviews?
The word interview conjures various different thoughts for different people. Parent-teacher interviews are not meant to be a scary experience for any of the involved parties. They are intended to open the lines of communication between home and school to increase a child’s chances of success.
Children are not present for these interviews, and the meetings themselves provide a quick overview of academic performance and any solutions to behavioural issues or other difficulties. While the frequency and duration of meetings vary, they generally last between 10 and 15 minutes. There will not be much time to spare, so it is best to be prepared to address any questions or concerns once you walk in the meeting room.
For primary school children, parents will meet with the child’s main teacher, plus any support staff as needed. Parents of secondary school students may be asked to meet with each of their child’s subject teachers individually.
5 Questions to Ask at Parent-Teacher Interviews
Parent-teacher interviews are the perfect opportunity to ask questions, so be sure to come with a list. Here are five important questions for parent teacher interviews that parents will want to consider.
1. How is my child performing at school?
This all-encompassing question includes academic performance as well as social and behavioural concerns. Many parents wish to discuss specific grades during their interview, while others may be more concerned about their child’s emotional or social well-being.
2. Does my child contribute in class?
Whether it is raising their hand to answer a question, or collaborating with peers on a group project, participation is a crucial indicator of a child’s strengths and weaknesses. If the teacher says your child is not comfortable in these situations, make some suggestions for remedying the situation.
3. Does my child need extra help?
Schools have special support programs in place for good reason. If your child is struggling academically or socially, they may be a candidate for extra assistance. Teachers can provide support in getting your child extra services as appropriate.
4. Does my child interact with peers appropriately?
How our children interact with their peers is an excellent indicator of their social and emotional well-being, which is crucial to a conducive learning environment. The teacher can help identify any issues that may require extra support.
5. How can I help?
This is a big one. Teachers appreciate feeling that they are being supported at home and are happy to provide suggestions on how parents can enrich their child’s learning experience in the home environment.
Parents who have ongoing concerns may request to follow up with the teacher after the interview. Follow-through is crucial if special supports were requested, or the parents or teacher brought up issues that required additional consideration.