All schools have a formula of how they want the Parent/ Teacher interview to go… I’m not really a fan of following a formula! Just as I believe that there isn’t a blanket approach to Parenting, I also believe that there isn’t a blanket approach to teaching.
And before anyone gets upset about that – remember I’m a teacher and I truly understand both sides of this debate!
As a parent I want to know a couple of things at mid year interviews:
- Is what the teacher is doing actually working for my child? With all this testing that is going on what is the movement that my child has made from the beginning of the year till now? If the movement is minimal then I want to know what they are going to do to change this.
- Do they actually know my child? Not just what the test scores say, but do they know what motivates my child? Do they understand the struggles my child has at school? And do they have a plan moving forward?
There shouldn’t be any surprises in a Parent/ Teacher Interview.
If my child has been struggling with reading, writing, Maths, or ANYTHING then I should have known about this already, and there should already be a plan going forward … the interview should be like a check-in time – what’s working? what’s not?
I’m not a fan of my kids doing the job of the teacher and telling me about their schooling …. It’s a Parent/ Teacher interview NOT a Parent/ student interview… If children are expected to come to interviews I see this as an opportunity for them to witness that their parent and their teacher have a relationship that is positive, and that everyone is on the same page so NO excuses or NO reason to not understand expectations.
So, how am I going to go in the interviews coming up? Each kid is different, and because I know my kids personality preferences I tailor my questions specifically about my kids for each teacher…. but it may go something like this:
– so, we struggled with change this term, and he opted out when there was a reliever in the class, resulting in some misunderstanding between the two teachers … I see that this sort of thing will happen again, and that my son could easily be seen as not capable or non- compliant as a result …. how are we going to ensure that doesn’t happen? And keep motivated?
– change is something that he struggles with and next year I really want to set him up for success as much as possible. What are we doing in the second half of the year to make sure that this is possible?
– I am worried that school is taken so seriously that there is so much emphasis on NOT getting things wrong, that this causes quite a lot of stress for this child. I’m really looking to see what sort of FUN is coming up to stretch into, or opportunities to show a more creative side. There is interest to write a book – can we accommodate this?
– because (this child) is so good- are we really teaching them any coping strategies when things go wrong?
THESE are the sort of questions that I ask! I am completely aware that teachers like to bring conversations back to achievement, but the reality is that I don’t remember specific achievements from my own schooling, and yet the social issues, the motivations to succeed or opt out of activities …. These sorts of things I remember well, and indeed shape who I am today, so it’s around these things that I ask questions. And if there is anything I want more clarification on I set a catch up meeting with the teacher for two weeks into the next school term to see if my concerns are being addressed, and if a plan is in place. Set the catch up date while you are in the Interview. Everybody can use accountability, and if you are worried I believe this:
NOBODY IS LOOKING OUT FOR YOUR CHILD AS MUCH AS YOU ARE – so don’t be shy!
PS – if you are looking for greater understanding of your child yourself, and want some help to get clarity then please get in touch with me!