Now that you’re an adult with kids of your own, teachers take on a whole new role in your life. Your children see them every day but you might meet with them only a few times the school year.
Here’s how to make the most of every conference:
Decide before hand how much you want to reveal: Find out what aspects of your child’s background you are willing or feel you need to reveal and if it would be helpful for the teacher to know. For instance you may want to let the teacher know that your child was adopted as an older child and may not have any baby photos of themselves. Maybe your child was internationally adopted and your child is sensitive to this and doesn’t want to be singled out for reports on their native country. Perhaps your child has two Mom’s or two Dads. There are many things that you feel that your teacher may need to know but that your child might not feel comfortable sharing with the class.
Talk to your children: Find out what they like about school and their teachers, as well as what they don’t like and what subjects they’re struggling with.
Bring another adult to the meeting: you and the teacher will get more perspective from someone else who knows your child well. If your spouse can’t attend, invite the child’s grandparent or aunt to come along. This will also help if you have questions or concerns, sometimes you can’t remember what was said because of how anxious or concerned you are but another person can help you recall what was talked about.
Have questions ready: The teacher will have a lot of information for you, but come in with a list of questions to ask so you don’t forget anything important. Questions can address whether your child is performing at grade level, how he or she is evaluated and how you can stay involved in his or her education.
Show up on time: Even if you are making a special appointment arriving promptly tells the teacher you take their time, as well as your child’s education seriously.
Follow up with your child: Tell your child what you talked about. If you and the teacher have developed an action plan to address specific issues, explain that to your child so he or she knows what’s going on.