College concerns? Worried about grades? Routine chat? Parents and teachers meet for a variety of reasons throughout the school year. Whatever your reason for visiting, it’s important to remember that you and your child’s teachers are partners in helping your child in the transition to adulthood. The combined support of teachers, counselor and you will be essential to help your child get on the right track to achieve his goals.
Your Involvement in School
Being involved in your child’s life at school is important. Obviously, you can’t accompany her every step of the way, but it’s important for her to know you’re interested in what she’s doing, and that her hard work is appreciated. Also, if you stay informed about your child’s classes and activities, you’ll be better able to give her help or guidance when she needs it.
Meet with your child’s teachers for a brief chat at the beginning of the school year. A good relationship with her teachers will make it easier for you to work together if problems arise during the year. Your child’s teacher can also help you understand what your child experiences every day and inform you about her schoolwork and responsibilities.
Talk to Your Child Beforehand
Ask your child if he has any questions or concerns he’d like you to discuss with his teacher and find out what he likes and dislikes about the class. Let your child know what you plan to talk about with the teacher – when your child is involved in decisions about his education he is more likely to take responsibility for his work and performance.
Jot down any questions you may have before your meeting to make the most of your time with her teacher. Some questions you may want to ask:
- How has my child performed in your class so far this year?
- What skills and knowledge will my child be learning in your class?
- Will my child complete any major projects or term papers this year?
- How do you determine grades on assignments? How do you determine her overall grade for the class?
- If my child needs help, is tutoring available?
- If my child is a fast-learner how can you and the school make sure she is challenged?
- Is this a college-track class? How does this class help students build skills to succeed in college?
- What resources are available at school to help my child with your class?
- How can I help my child succeed in your class this year?
- What resources would help my child do her work better? Are there additional books or resources available at school or in the community that would help her?
Aside from any questions you have, it’s also important to let your child’s teacher know about your concerns or any special circumstances that might affect his work in school. Update his teachers or high school counselor if any major changes occur in your family. Some families are reluctant to reveal private matters, but you might consider simply alerting his counselor or teachers that your family is going though difficult times.
Keep an Open Mind
You may find the teacher has constructive criticism about your child. Keep an open mind to the teacher’s comments. Neither your child nor her teacher is perfect, so if a problem arises it’s important to consider both sides of the story. The best solution is one that helps your child succeed in school.
Take notes during your meeting to record important points that were made. Let your child know what you discussed and if you and his teacher made any decisions or came to any conclusions. Set up another meeting with the teacher, if necessary, to monitor your child’s progress or to discuss any continuing problems or concerns.