7 Questions to Ask at Your Child’s Parent-Teacher Conference
Whether this is your first or one of your final parent-teacher conferences, you may be feeling a little unsettled about what to discuss. Mainly, you are there to discuss your child with his/her teacher. This will look different depending on the grade level and the teacher, but ultimately, a parent-teacher conference is the opportunity for parents and teachers to communicate about how to help the child succeed inside the classroom.
No matter the reason for the conference, you should plan to enter the conference with the goal of supporting both your child and the teacher. To help you prepare for the meeting, consider asking the following questions:
- What are your classroom policies?
Every teacher has set classroom policies regarding classroom rules, grading, rubrics, and academic standards. Before you can get to the root of any issues your child may be having in the classroom, you must understand what policies are in place. This question will also help you understand how to reinforce policies on your own time. This question also opens the door for other subsequent questions such as: What is the plan for notifying me of rule-breaking issues, social concerns, or academic struggles?
- What are some resources we should be using?
Take advantage of the time you are meeting with your child’s teacher to get suggestions for any (and all) resources you and your child should be using. Be sure to ask about school resources, library resources, district resources, and technology resources that are available to students. Parents are often unaware of the volume of educational materials available to their children outside of the classroom.
- What should we expect our child to know by the end of the academic year?
While this is a broad question, it is helpful for goal setting and staying on track for the academic school year. Some schools have state standards that students are expected to meet by the end of the school year, and many teachers can present you with this information.
- What suggestions do you have for getting my child to communicate about his/her school day?
If you have a child who does not readily talk about school, it can be helpful to ask the teacher this question. The teacher will be able to let you know what types of things students regularly do in class so that you can ask specific class-related questions.
- Where does my child need to improve?
Even if you think your child is perfect, you should still be open to hearing which areas the teacher thinks he or she needs improvement. For instance, while your child may excel academically, the teacher may notice your child struggles socially.
- What accommodations are being made in your class?
For parents with children with special needs and IEPS, this question must be asked. You are your child’s best advocate, so you need to verify the teacher has reviewed the IEP and is making the required accommodations.
- How can I support you?
Last, but certainly not least, you should conclude your meeting by emphasizing your desire to work alongside the teacher to help your child succeed. By asking how you can support the teacher, you are showing your willingness to partner with him/her.
As you head into the parent-teacher conference, try to remember that you may not have time to discuss everything or go through each of these questions in detail. However, teachers always provide a means to contact them if you need to communicate further.