Parent/teacher interviews supplement the information given in the formal report card, and provide an excellent opportunity for parents and teachers to discuss a student’s progress and to find solutions to any academic and behavioural problems.
Interviews are usually timetabled into short, ten to fifteen minute time slots. Teachers are extremely busy people and need to allocate time fairly to all families, therefore it is important not to waste time in the interview.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your parent/teacher interview:
Be punctual. Being late can affect the time you are given and may disrupt other parents. Find out if your child is expected to attend the interview with you.
Stay calm and discuss things rationally.
Avoid wasting time talking about things that are irrelevant to the interview. The whole time should be spent discussing your child (their progress, strengths, weaknesses etc.).
Expect that the teacher knows your child extremely well, e.g. the way they learn, their social skills, their academic progress in relation to expected school benchmarks, homework expectations and their projected learning path going in to their next phase of learning.
Ask questions. If you have concerns, make a list of things to ask in the interview so you don’t forget. Are there ways you can assist your child at home? If your child is struggling, what support services are being provided for them? If they are advanced, how is their learning being extended?
Do you need to consider some additional help, e.g. paediatrician, specialist therapy or private tuition?
Arrange a separate meeting with the teacher to further discuss your concerns if you don’t get all the information you need in the time allocated.
Teachers have the best interests of your child at heart. Try to keep in touch with your child’s teacher throughout the school year, not just at interview time. This way, potential issues can be dealt with before they become bigger problems. The interview is designed to keep you both informed, and is a wonderful opportunity to become involved in your child’s education.
Karen Carter is Co-Director at Kip McGrath Education Centre Burpengary, providing professional tuition by qualified teachers in Maths and English for Primary and Secondary students. Contact us at www.kipmcgrath.com.au/burpengary or on 3888 2332 or 0488 445 776 for a free assessment.