How to get the most out of parent-teacher meetings
Even if you don’t have any particular concerns, parent-teacher meetings early in the year give you a great opportunity to get to know your child’s teachers, help them understand more about your child and discuss how you can both support your child.
It can be helpful to take along a list of written questions – for example:
How much homework should my child be doing every night?
What can I do at home to help my child with schoolwork?
What support services are available for my child?
How will you provide feedback if my child is falling behind?
When are you available if my child needs extra help?
In addition, here are some questions to ask throughout the year
When working in a small group with my child in reading, what is an area of strength or weakness that you notice? How is my child’s decoding? Fluency? Comprehension? Vocabulary?
What are my child’s specific strengths and weaknesses in writing?
What are my child’s specific strengths and weaknesses? Are my child’s reading and writing levels affecting their maths results?
Compared with others in the class, how is my child’s:
Memory: How well does my child learn and remember new information? How much support is needed?
Attention: How is my child’s attention during different types of activities? One-on-one? Small group? Whole class?
Processing: How well is my child able to “make connections” as compared to peers? When reading, can they decode new words, make good guesses about new word meanings, use background knowledge to predict and infer? In maths, is computation or retrieval of number facts slow? In writing, are they able to get ideas down on paper without a lot of support?
Sequencing: How well is my child able to organize his thoughts or explain his understanding of a new concept?
Expression and Language Skills
How often do students have an opportunity to share their thoughts with the class (i.e., “think out loud”)? Does my child participate?
Social Skills: How does my child handle conflict with other students? What one thing could my child do to improve his or her social skills?
NAPLAN testing & progress
Do you have any concerns about my child’s ability to prepare for and take the NAPLAN test, or ability to go up to the next year level?
If you have concerns, don’t wait until the next parent-teacher meeting – request to meet with the teacher early. Where extra help is needed, be sure to ask, “What can I do to support my child at home?” And then really do it. That school-home connection can make a huge difference in student achievement. Here’s to a great school year!