How is my child doing? Is about the worst question you can ask a teacher. We hear it all the time.
Usually, if there is some kind of issue with your child, or something they are having trouble with, you would have heard about it by now. At least for me, I view teacher interviews as a chance to get to know the parents of my students, and to address and concerns they might have.
If you want to get the most out of your parent-teacher interview, then walk in armed with these questions:
1. Does my child enjoy class? What subject do they excel at the most?
This is a great question to get a dialogue started. You want your child to like school, and be motivated to do well. Teachers see a different side to you child than you do at home. So it’s always good to ask.
2. Is my child proud of the work he/she produces?
Both you and the teacher want your child to do their best. If they are not performing to the best of their ability, now is the time to brainstorm about how this can be improved. Ask to see examples of your child’s work, and you can discuss together whether what your child is handing in is acceptable or not.
3. Does my child follow directions?
Do they do what they are supposed to directly after being told? Do they get working at the task at hand, or do they sit and socialize? Or perhaps they are lost and rather than ask for help, they will sit and not try? Parents can help the teacher by giving insight as to how their child deals with problems, is motivated, and approaches new experiences/new information.
4. How does my child interact with others?
Kids will act differently at school and among their peers than they do at home. It’s good to find out how your child behaves (or maybe doesn’t!) in the classroom and with others. We all act a little differently, depending on where we are. Your child is no different. You may see a different version of your child at home than their teacher does at school.
5. Who does my child interact with at school? Do they have a hard time finding a partner, or someone to play/work with?
It’s always good to know who your child’s friends are. They will have a significant impact on your child. You also want to know if your child is an outcast, and if so, what the reasons may be for them to be treated as such. Perhaps they are shy? Bossy? Lazy? And I don’t know about you, but it helps to put the stories that come home into context! Kids love to exaggerate.
These questions will help to get the dialogue rolling, but also to help paint a better picture of how your child is doing at school, without having to ask the dreaded question:
How is my child doing?
Shannon Wijnker is a Canadian teacher who is currently on maternity leave. She has had four children in the past five years and blogs about her experiences with them, as well as pregnancy, parenting and education. You can find her at: http://www.MamaMusingOnline.com