Semester 1 is over, and formal student reports have already been sent home. Many schools invite parents to share their child’s progress in the form of a school based interview, so perhaps it is timely to revisit how to get the most benefit from this process.
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 to enable you to get the most from it.
Here are a few tips to get the best from your parent-teacher interview:
Be punctual. Interviews are timetabled, so 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 into 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.