Having a good relationship with your child’s teachers is one of the most important ways to stay involved in their education. Over the course of the school year, there will be lots of opportunities to interact with and get to know the people helping to educate your little ones. By making the most of these opportunities, you can ensure that you and their teachers are an effective team, and that you’re prepared to address any challenges your student may encounter.
Keeping in touch with our children’s teachers is not a new idea. It’s totally normal for parents and teachers to exchange emails and phone calls about things that are happening in the classroom. However, with parents working and teachers having dozens of children to keep track of, it can be difficult to schedule one-on-one face time to discuss the issues that may be affecting a student. This is why parent-teacher conferences are such a vital opportunity to build connections. Although a teacher may not always be able to take a phone call or stay late to meet with a parent, parent-teacher conferences provide a valuable opportunity to meet in person and build relationships.
One way to make the most of these conferences is to come prepared with your own list of questions and concerns to address with the teacher. It’s natural to be curious what someone else has to say about your children. But it’s important to be proactive and not let the teacher do all the talking. There may be things affecting your child’s performance that the teacher is unaware of. For instance, if you think your child is spending too much time at night doing homework, you can ask questions about that in the conference. It may be that your son or daughter is spending three hours on homework that should only take one. As long they’re performing well, the teacher won’t have any indication that anything is amiss.
Another key to getting the most out of parent-teacher conferences is to keep an open mind about any critical feedback your child receives from their teachers. It’s important to remember that every student will eventually struggle with a class or a peer or some other aspect of school. As a parent, you can look out for these struggles so that when they arise, you’re not caught off guard. Remember that you and your child’s teachers are a team. If your son’s chemistry teacher mentions something negative about his performance in class, try to see that as an opportunity to improve. By bringing it to your attention, she’s inviting you to intervene and address whatever might be causing your son to struggle.
Finally, be sure to follow up with the teacher about anything that you discuss in the conference. If there’s something they want your student to improve, you can send an email letting them know that you’ve discussed the issue at home and that you’re looking forward to working together to resolve the issue. The important thing is to make clear that you plan to be an involved and constructive part of your child’s education. When teachers know that parents are their allies, they’re better equipped to help their students face whatever challenges may arise.