Navigating The Parent-Teacher Interview
Regardless of your current involvement in your child’s school, a parent-teacher interview can be beneficial to everyone involved. This is your opportunity to discuss your child’s education, behaviour and growth in an open dialogue that will encourage the building of a partnership with your child's teacher for the well-being of your child. The relationship that is formed between a teacher and a parent will have long-term effects, so it’s imperative to navigate this discussion in a respectful and responsible manner.
Talk to your child
Whether your parent-teacher interview is due to a specific concern or is simply a regular scheduled meeting after report cards have been issued, set aside a few moments to talk to your child before the interview. Review past homework assignments together, chat about what he or she likes best about school, find out what your child appreciates about his or her teacher and make sure to discuss any concerns your child is having. This will help to prepare you for the meeting with the teacher.
Prepare a list of questions to ask
After speaking with your child, it’s likely you will have a barrage of questions for his or her teacher. It’s important to remember that the teacher is there to help your child achieve his or her academic goals, so keep your tone positive, and politely ask all the questions you want. It may be helpful to make a list of questions so that if the discussion gets off topic, you can refer to it and get all the answers you need. If you are unclear about something the teacher says, make sure to ask for clarification.
Keep an open mind and don’t get defensive
Your child’s teacher is just like everyone else in this world — unique — so keep an open mind during the interview process. The teacher's opinion and personality may not necessarily mesh with your own, but that doesn't mean you can't work together to reach a common goal. While it’s inherent to our nature to protect ourselves and our young, it's important you keep the conversation honest and avoid becoming defensive regardless of what is said. Since most schools prefer your child be present at the interview, be aware that impressionable young ears are listening, and focus on working with the teacher to create a productive and positive interview for everyone involved.
Celebrate your child
Children aren't always perfect, contrary to most parents' opinions. It's possible that your child's teacher will offer some constructive suggestions, and while any negatives will certainly need to be addressed, you can make the choice to either celebrate your child's successes or dwell on the problems. Help foster a lifelong love for learning, and pump up your child's self-esteem by praising and celebrating them for who they are.