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6 Questions to Ask at Parent-Teacher Conferences

It’s time for your first official sit-down of the school year with your child’s teacher. While it’s perfectly fine to go into the parent-teacher conference without a lot of advance preparation, you can make the very most of this discussion by thinking through what you’d like to talk about ahead of time. The parent-teacher conference, after all, is arguably one of the most essential tools you have to guide your child in school. Be sure you collect as much information as possible in order to support your child’s success.

The teacher will likely have a framework for your discussion that addresses the most important topics. However, be sure to write down your own list of questions as well. As a starting point, here are six questions that cover your child’s holistic school performance:

1. Is my child meeting grade-level expectations?
Teachers have state standards against which they measure all students’ performance. Ask how your child is keeping up in class and if there are any areas that need attention.

2. Why did my child receive this grade?
Grades on homework, class work and tests are the most obvious measurement of your child’s daily and weekly progress. Talk with the teacher about any grades that have surprised you to get a better understanding of the components of a grade and where your child is excelling or falling short.

3. Do you suggest that my child work on anything in particular?
While grades tell one part of the story, there are many other aspects of a child’s academic behavior. Ask the teacher about your child’s classroom participation, time management, organization, and more.

4. What is my role at homework time?
A common area of confusion for parents is how much or how little they should be helping with homework. Your child’s teacher can offer insight into the appropriate level of parental involvement and what you can do if your child is struggling.

5. What are my child’s strengths?
Don’t forget that parent-teacher conferences are a time to uncover your child’s greatest assets in addition to areas of weakness. Perhaps your child has an outgoing personality and works well in teams. Maybe he or she is a strong public speaker. Talk about what your child is good at, as these areas could present opportunities for extracurricular activities and a possible major in college.

6. What is the best way for me to support my child at home?
As a busy parent, it can feel overwhelming to stay on top of everything school related, but your child’s teacher will appreciate you expressing your desire to help. The teacher might have a few simple suggestions or top priorities to focus on at home that will make it easy for you to take action.

Naturally, every parent-teacher conference will be different, and the teacher might lead the conversation in a particular direction based on how the school year is going so far. However, if your conference doesn’t allow sufficient time for you to discuss everything you’d like to, schedule an additional meeting.

The key is to keep the lines of communication with your child’s teacher open and address issues as soon as they arise. Use the parent-teacher conference to talk openly with the teacher. It shouldn’t feel like a one-sided conversation, but rather, a chance for you to share and receive more details on how your child is doing and learn the most important ways you can support his or her education.

Written by Huntington Learning Center.

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