It may seem a bit daunting and even produce a sense of anxiety, but the first parent teacher meeting is a very important part of your child’s school year.
At the start of each new school year, parents are invited to a parent teacher meeting. This is an opportunity for parents to meet the person their child is going to be spending a large portion of their time with, not to mention all the formative educational and social input this person will provide.
Aside from imparting pertinent information regarding the curriculum and classroom structure, the idea is for you and the teacher to form a team – a partnership that works together for the benefit of your child.
To make it easier, and to ensure you make the most of this first meeting, we’ve outlined some important information that you need to know.
What will we talk about?
Let your child’s teacher take the lead. They are ‘seasoned’ at parent teacher meetings and will be sure to cover all the relevant points and topics necessary to make this a productive year.
Your child’s teacher will probably talk about your child’s classwork, homework, and behavior.
Teachers also like to learn about students from their parents. No one knows your child better than you do. You can help the teacher by talking about what your child likes to do, any events that may affect your child (such as a new baby, divorce or death), as well as any special medical or learning needs that your child may have.
What should I do before the meeting?
To make your first parent teacher meeting as productive as possible, there are a few key things you could think about before hand.
Meeting preparation checklist:
- Ask your child how he or she feels about school.
- Ask your child if there is anything that he or she wants you to talk about with his teacher.
- Prepare a list of questions such as:
- Is my child settling in to their new class and getting on with classmates?
- What homework workload can we expect?
- What is the average amount of time we should be spending on homework each day in this new grade?
- Does my child participate in class?
- Does my child seem happy at school?
- Are there any special events or academic due dates coming up?
- What can I do at home to help more?
What should I do at the meeting?
This is a process of taking turns in which you let the teacher speak before you react. The meeting should be a give-and-take exchange that helps you to learn the teacher’s overall expectations before you offer suggestions, ask questions or make comments.
Here are a few key things to do during your first meeting:
Be on time (or early) for the meeting
Get off to the right start, come to the meeting on time. You should also plan on ending the meeting at the scheduled time so that other parents can start their meetings on time.
Relax and be yourself
Remember that you and the teacher both the want the same thing, the very best for your child.
Respectful communication will be the most effective way to work together with your child’s teacher.
Ask the most important questions first
You may run out of time but you can always schedule another meeting with the teacher to cover any points you didn’t cover this time around.
Ask for explanations of anything you don’t understand
Listen carefully to what the teacher says. If you don’t understand something that the teacher talks about, such as an educational term or an explanation of a school policy, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. It is important for you to understand what your child’s teacher is telling you.
Ask your child’s teacher for ways that you can help your child at home
Listen for specific suggestions of ways that you can help your child at home with homework, reading, organization, routines, behavioral issues, etc. Make sure you understand the teacher’s suggestions, and ask for clarification if you don’t.
Establish the best way to stay in touch with your child’s teacher
Find out what method would work best to stay in contact with them, so that any concerns can be dealt with swiftly.
Thank the teacher
Thank them for their time and support of your child.
What should I do after the meeting?
So the meeting is over and you are wondering why you were so anxious in the first place? Now you need to follow up on any issues or important topics that were highlighted in the meeting.
Here are a few things to do after your meeting:
- Talk about the meeting with your child: Let your child know that you are their teacher are a team working towards the very best for them.
- Get started at home: Start working on the things their teacher mentioned would be beneficial to do at home, any reading, organization or routines they mentioned would have a positive impact on your child’s schooling.
- Stay in touch with your child’s teacher: This will help you strengthen the parent-teacher partnership, and will be an important part of the child’s success in school. When a child sees that parents and teachers are working together, the child will understand that his/her education is a top priority at school and at home.
- Sign up for WorksheetCloud. It’ll change the way your child revises and studies this year. Sign up here, I promise you won’t be dissapointed.
Keep reading the WorksheetCloud blog for more school advice this year. A new year is the perfect time to make a fresh start with your child’s education.