5 Questions to Ask at a Parent-Teacher Conference

The fall may be the season for standardized testing for upper level students, but it is also an important time for students of all levels. Many schools host parent-teacher conference weeks in October, November, or December. As the school year has been in full swing for a month or two, these parent-teacher meetings allow the parents to get a sense of what their child will be learning over the course of the school year. These meetings also allow teachers to discuss a student’s progress with the parents including comments on great performance or areas in which the student may be having trouble.

Here are 5 questions you should be prepared to ask during your parent-teacher conference to make sure you are getting the most out of your meeting.

1)      What subjects will my child be responsible for learning this year?

Although most middle school and high school students usually know based on their schedules what subjects they will be expected to master during the year, parents of elementary-aged children should ask this question of the teacher. Knowing if this is going to be the year of American history or fractions and decimals will help you get a sense of what is to come, so you are prepared if your child has questions on homework and other assignments.

2)      What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?

Even though as a parent you have a strong sense of your child’s talents and abilities, how they are performing in the classroom can be markedly different from their behavior at home. Ask the teacher if he or she can identify any problem areas your child may be having. Or find out if your child is excelling in a particular area. Parent-teacher conferences can be about praise too!

 3)      How can I help my child with learning at home?

This question is important especially if your child’s teacher notices that he or she is having some difficulty in class. Together you and the teacher can discuss some options to further enrich your child’s learning experience when at home. You can also discuss the possibility of hiring a tutor or other recommendations the teacher may have to help your child succeed.

4)      What is your preferred method of communication?

Back in the day, teachers usually communicated with parents via a letter sent home with the student. Now teachers have many different options for communication with parents. Ask your child’s teacher what method of communication they prefer whether it is by telephone, email, or notes home. This way you know how to best reach the teacher if you have questions about your child’s progress or specific projects. Plus it lets you know if you should be expecting emails or calls home in case anything happens in class you need to be made aware of.

 5)      How is my child performing socially in school?

Information on how your child is doing socially is almost as important as their academic progress. Sometimes a student will struggle with class work if he or she is having issues with other classmates. Knowing if your child is having problems socially can help you and the teacher develop a game plan to help your child adjust so that the classroom can become a positive experience.

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One Response to “ 5 Questions to Ask at a Parent-Teacher Conference ”

  1. These are great! I attended conferences last week for my middle school and high school sons. I’m a firm believer in going to conferences, even if your child is doing well in school. It’s a great way to connect with the teachers and get more involved in your child’s academic and social life. When they are in high school, attending conferences is a really helpful way to discuss college options, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores.