I was invited to attend the first parent-teacher-conference this year and I though it 'll be useful if we can jot down some advise for parents who have to be confronted to the brevity of such conferences.
Imagine, the letter I received says that I have been scheduled for a parent-teacher-conference on Nov. 2Oth from 1:15 -1:20. And it's due to "an overwhelming positive response" from parents. With such a short time, neither the teacher can present a complete review of your child's academic progress, nor a parent can ask some concerns beyond reviewing his child's schoolwork and textbooks.
Considering all these aspects, we want to suggest some of the ten questions we think are the most interesting we you met your child's homeroom/lead teacher to exchange information and so develop a good working relationship. Remember thought, parent-teacher-conference is a two-way exchange of information. Cross off what questions you'll pick for your next meeting at school:
1. Do you give test or benchmarks on a regular basis? - It's important to learn about the frequency so you can help at home. Is he doing accordingly?
2. What is your homework routine? - Ask about what it'll be the time students should spend on homework each evening and what is expected from parents in helping your son in this kind of activities.
3. What are the topics students are learning in science and social studies? Our school this year started mixing Language and Social Studies in the same class, but science is part of the core of curriculum same as math.
4. Does my son appear anxious about any aspect of school? - Be sure not always they walk out home happy to go to school, so might be something they don't like at this place. Be careful with bullying inside the school bus.
5. What are his academic strengths and weakness - We adults find some things easy to learn and some others more difficult, like us, kids have their own strengths but of course the parts where you should offer support.
6. What about his academic skills, how does he compare with his classmates academically? - Don't accept the typical "he's doing good". Ask the teacher how he compares with other students not only in the classroom but other classroom where other students interact. Is he above, at, or below grade level?
7. Is he having any behavioral or social difficulties? - This is a elementary school scenario but remember some kids get to puberty a bit early. Ask the teacher whether he/she considers unusual this difficulties for this age. Has the teacher noticed any sudden changes in his behaviour or mood?
8. What are the school programs your son can benefit? - My son takes Sport Clinics and enjoys to be enrolled on swimming clinics. It might happen that your school also offers academic programs like gifted and talented, after school tutoring, instrumental music or help with homework hotline.
9. How you as parent can help at home? - We all are busy persons but when we talk about your son's education, you have to make some room for it. If he needs reinforcement of any skills, ask for a tutor suggestion or what would it be the materials, activities and strategies the teacher suggests.
10 Best time to contact teacher during school schedule - Should I set an appointment? What is the procedure to be followed in case I have to pick early my kid. Can I reach you by phone and at what time. Most teacher find impersonal communications as the e-mail works better.
Article written taking the advise from a psychologist in Mercer School, NJ., Dr. Kennet Shore.