Parents’ evening can be the cause of some seriously mixed feelings for parents. You’re keen to discover how your little one is getting on, but you’re often not really sure what should and shouldn’t be covered. How to squeeze all your questions and concerns into a few short minutes? And, then there are the tiny chairs to contend with! Having a serious discussion isn’t particularly easy when you’re perched on such a small piece of furniture is it?
Here are our top parents’ evening pointers to ensure it runs smoothly and you make the most of the teacher’s time. We can’t help with the tiny chairs, I’m afraid!
Arrive early. There’s a lot to cram into your short meeting, so don’t risk wasting the time by being late. Be prepared by thinking about your child’s strengths and challenges beforehand so you can use the time effectively.
Have the right attitude. Think of it as a positive meeting. Just like you, teachers want your child to succeed so remember you’re both on the same team. You will probably hear positive feedback about your child’s progress AND areas for improvement. Don’t take offence and if the teacher’s feedback isn’t as positive as you’d hoped ask what you can do to help it improve.
Be prepared to listen, but also communicate any concerns you may have. The time is for you to learn about your child’s progress in school, but it should be a two-way conversation about how to move forward. Your teacher will also want to learn about what your child is like at home. Describe what interests and excites them, and explain any issues at home that may be affecting your child at school. When you give your perspective on your child’s skills, interests and needs, the teacher is better equipped to help your child.
Take a list of questions with you that you would like to ask the teacher. Consider questions such as ‘Is his/her performance on track?’, ‘How can I support them at home?’ and ‘What do you see as his/her learning strengths?’
Don’t be afraid to ask the teacher to clarify what specific terms actually mean. The teacher may show you examples of your child’s work and discuss the school expectations and academic standards.
Don’t just leave it there. This shouldn’t be the only time you speak to the teacher. Agree on some next steps and then follow up.
Share with your child what you learned. Show him or her how you will help with learning at home. Don’t forget it’s a team effort and your child is in the team too. Discuss together how best to move forward.