It’s already time for parent-teacher conferences around here. Crazy that the year is going by this fast. I’m excited to see what it’s like on this side of the table. I remember growing up going with my parents to these things and standing outside the door trying to hear anything the teacher said or wandering the hallways until it was over. Now, it’s my turn to sit at the table with a teacher talking about my child. How did I get this old?!
While reading Going Public I took note of some great things they said about parent-teacher conferences. The first being that if at all possible both parents should go. And the second one was be on time. This is a life lesson I wish all people knew and followed through with but I digress. He also gave some great suggestions of questions to ask your teacher about your child. I typed them out to take with me because I think they are so important.
Questions to ask at parent-teacher conferences
Relationship with the teacher:
- Tell us how our child is doing with you. We care about how they treat you, not just how well they do their school work.
- Do they respect you?
- Do they listen?
- Does he obey when you ask him to do something? “Please understand we’re not looking for a bad report. But we really want to check up on whether he is honoring you as his teacher. That’s important in our family.”
Relationship with authority figures:
- What about her other interactions with authorities, the principal, other teachers, subs, coaches, etc?
- Would you say our son gets along with other kids, or not so well?
- Does he speak kindly to them? Or is he sarcastic? Do you ever see a streak of meanness in him?
- Would you say our child is a leader in this classroom, or not? What do you see that’s good in this regard?
- What if anything concerns you?
- “We’ve told all of our kids that it’s not enough to stay our of trouble; we expect them to try to be part of the solution, if they can.” How would you say that’s working out?
These issues-character, attitude, response to authority, compassion, leadership–are the real agenda for a parent-teacher conference. It’s always good to discover your child’s shortcomings sooner rather than later.
I work with college students and man on man I wish that all parents would have been involved in helping their kids develop in all of these areas. They may shine in lots of ways but if they are failing in even one of the others it affects their lives and the lives of those around them.
He ended this chapter saying this and I loved it,
It’s not enough for our children to just “pass” or “get by” or “do okay”. We want them to thrive in school and keep moving toward the amazing future God has in store for them.
That’s what I want for my kids, to thrive and move forward into an amazing future that God has in store for them. And even a parent-teacher conference is a stepping stone along that path.
We’ll let you know how the first one goes for us. What about you, do you have lots of conferences under your belt? What good questions do you ask?