Okay! We seem to have somewhat survived the “back to school” month of September. That brings us into October. And with that comes the sometimes dreaded parent-teacher interview or conference.
How can we rock these interviews so that we're not only being effective advocates for our children, but their teachers also like and want to work with us? Having done this rodeo a bazillion times, here are my tips:
Before the Interview:
Review your kiddo’s work and any report cards that have made their way home and prepare questions for your teacher. Don’t get so hung up on the academics, because academics are a pretty small part of the big picture. Ask how your child is doing socially. Question what their recess activities look like. Who are their friends? Do they take on a leadership role? What do they seem to enjoy? These are the important questions.
While You Are There:
Be open to feedback. If the teacher raises an issue, don’t be defensive. We’re all on the same team here. Ask for suggestions around how you can best support your child at home to ensure success at school. The BEST way to deal with any negative feedback is to say “what would you suggest?”
After the Interview:
Have a discussion with your child and be positive! If issues need to be addressed, involve the child and get their suggestions around dealing with that feedback. Kids who participate in their own plan are more engaged and have skin in the game. Follow up about the plan with teacher if necessary. Make sure your child is not freaked out by parents and educators meeting. The home/school communication is a GOOD thing – make sure they don’t think otherwise.
My last parent pro-tip? Don’t be late for the meeting. Our teachers are dealing with a heck of a lot. Respect their time. They put in more of it than we can even imagine.