Parent-teacher meetings in the U.K. are fleetingly short. This is one of the only pre-scheduled times to meet with your child's teacher, so making the most of it is key! Most parents will have the first parent-teacher meetings of the year coming up in October so here are some valuable top tips on making the most of the precious minutes! It's important to remember that your child's teacher is on your team. Together you can build a successful working relationship to give your child the best learning opportunities.
1. Prepare yourself. Talk with your child before the conference. Have an open conversation about the subjects they think are their strongest and which ones they feel are their weakest. If they're struggling with friendships or confidence in the classroom, this is the time to listen for social cues that may indicate uneasiness.
2. Let your child's teacher educate you. At this point in the school year the teacher will have a fairly good idea of how your child has progressed academically and socially since the start of the term. Try listening to the teacher's insight from a positive state of mind. Gaining tips and tricks on the best teaching methods to use at home with your child gives you the ability to have an additional active role in your child's education.
3. Allow yourself to educate the teacher. Kindly ask the teacher if you can tell them about your child. No one knows them better than you do, so it's a great chance to help your child's teacher learn more. Likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and information on what motivates your child are all useful for your child's teacher to know. This may allow them to move forward with a more in-depth understanding of their student.
4. Relay expectations. It's common for a teacher to share their goals for your child, but it's also an opportunity to express your goals too. While all parents want their child to academically progress, some parents may have additional goals that involve more of a social aspect. Some parents may want their child to build more confidence in the classroom or become kinder to other children in their class.
5. Ask final questions. A number of your initial questions will hopefully be answered during your meeting, but you may want to have a list of questions on hand to ask just in case. Examples of last-minute questions to ask your child's teacher:
• What can I do at home to help my child's learning ability?
• Do you notice any social (non-educational) skills my child can work on? (i.e. making friends, building confidence, etc.)
• Are there any areas s/he finds difficult?
• Do you feel as if a follow-up meeting in a few weeks will be needed?
6. Be Positive! Your child is on an academic journey and remember that this is just the first term. There's still so much to come so thank the teacher for their time and make goals for the future. Ending the meeting on a positive note is hugely important to create an ongoing good relationship that will benefit your child for the coming months.