Conference Time: What to Ask the Teacher

Michele Borba, EdD, a former teacher and mom of three, has worked with hundreds of school divisions and PTA groups. She recently offered insight on our Community Boards about how to maximize your parent-teacher conference time. Here is her advice.

Make the Most of Your Meeting

Back to School Advice
Back to School Advice

You just received a memo from your child's school: your parent-teacher conference has been scheduled. So what do you ask? Keep in mind that your child's teacher has scheduled only a set amount of time to talk, so you will want to use every second wisely. Your goal is to find out not only how your child is doing in school, but also how you can help.

There are a few things you can do before the conference to make the most of your meeting with the teacher.

  • Take a few minutes before the conference date to jot down questions you want answers to. In fact, write your questions on note cards and take them with you. Chances are if you don't write them down, you'll forget to ask.
  • Review your child's latest schoolwork. Do you have any concerns or questions? If so, write those questions down too.
  • Ask your child if there might be anything he'd like you to ask his teacher. He (or you) may need clarification on the homework schedule or when his library book is due.
  • Also pose this question to your child: "Is there anything you think the teacher will tell me that I don't already know?" Better to not be surprised.
  • Finally, if you don't have a school handbook (available to all parents at the front office), do pick one up when you are at school. It lists all kinds of helpful advice: school rules, vacation schedules, dress code, and contact numbers.

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