Parent-teacher meetings are a crucial part of your child’s learning experience. Here’s how to make them successful for everyone
By Elwin LeRoux
Each year in late fall and early spring, student report cards go home to parents and guardians. Report cards provide a snapshot of your child’s achievement to date. They offer feedback on the expected learning outcomes as well as the development and application of work habits and social skills. While they do provide valuable insight into your child’s progress, report cards are only one part of the home and school communication equation.
Parent (or guardian)/teacher interviews are usually scheduled for the week following the distribution of report cards. These meetings provide you with the opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher, face to face, to discuss progress in school. This is a chance to gain a deeper understanding of your child’s strengths, challenges, and ways you can support learning at home.
If you have any questions or concerns at any point during the school year, please know that you do not have to wait for these meetings. We encourage you to connect with your child’s teacher throughout the school year, and especially when you feel it’s necessary.
A great way to begin preparing for a teacher meeting is by talking to your child about how they feel about school. What do they like about being a mathematician? What do they like about being a writer? What makes them excited to go to school? How do they feel they are progressing? It’s never too early to coach your child on self-awareness and responsibility.
Take time to review your child’s report card with them in advance. Are there things that need to be celebrated? Are there things you need clarified? How do they feel about what the teacher has written? What do they feel they need to work on? How can you assist the teacher to bring out the brilliance in your child?
It’s also important to talk about school experiences other than academics. What opportunities do they have to bring their interests to class? How are they able to participate in class? What leadership roles have they held? How do they keep organized? What do they enjoy most about being at school? Understanding how your child perceives their own school experience will help you have a productive conversation with the teacher. Working with your child’s classroom teacher is foundational to their success in school. As parents and guardians, you are our partners.
Make a list of topics you would like to discuss with the teacher based on the conversations with your child. How is my child progressing in math? What are my child’s strengths as a reader? What are my child’s strengths as a writer? How is their participation in class? How engaged are they? How do they interact with peers? Do they ask questions? Don’t be afraid to share what you learned from your child’s perspective. Because you know your child best, you will always have valuable information that will assist a teacher in understanding who your child is and what strengths, prior knowledge and lived experiences they bring to the classroom.
Make plans with the teacher and set goals. What will progress look like in the next month? How can that be supported from home? As partners in education, parents and guardians play a crucial role in encouraging their children to work hard in school and at home. Talk positively about learning, especially math. Talk about goals in a positive way; think of it as an investment in the teenage years.
If you have any concerns about your child’s progress in school, the classroom teacher is there to help. In fact, there is a whole team of experts to draw upon. Teachers, administrators and school staff meet regularly to discuss student success and problem-solve together. Never hesitate to connect with your child’s teacher. Together, you can set realistic learning goals, discuss supports and identify ways to track progress. Should challenges persist, the school principal and the School Planning Team will work with you, your child, and their classroom teacher to find a solution that is right. Our mission is to provide a high quality education for every student every day.
Don’t forget to follow up with your child after attending parent (or guardian)/ teacher interviews. Share what you learned from their teacher, celebrate their achievements, and tell them how you will continue to support their learning at home. Communication among the student, parents/guardians, and the teacher is a key to success.
Learning is a process, best fuelled by descriptive and constructive feedback. When teachers and parents/guardians work on that together, results add up. Seize the opportunity to ensure that communication between home and school is anchored in positive, ongoing, and thoughtful conversation. Celebrate your child’s achievements with them and their teacher. Starting early will set the foundation for a lifetime love of learning.
Things to remember:
• Learning looks different at different grade levels.
• Support a plan of independence and self-awareness. It’s never too early to build responsibility in children.
• Ask your child’s teacher to describe what success looks like for your child in the next few months.
• Be actively engaged in your child’s learning.
• Keep in contact with your child’s teacher.
• Don’t forget, your child has more than just a classroom teacher. Communicating with physical education, music, and French teachers helps to build a greater picture of your child’s learning progress.
• Never feel you have to wait until parent (or guardian)/teacher interviews to connect with your child’s teacher. Regular communication is key.
• Make sure your child is happy at school. Having fun while learning is so important.
• We are here to support your child’s success in school.