10 no-no's during parent-teacher conferences
Parent-Teacher conferences are a place where you can discuss your child's progress in school with his or her teacher. Since these conferences only happen once per term, you have to make sure that you make the most out of these meetings. Here are some things that you shouldn't do to make sure that your meetings with your child's teacher will be successful.
1. Don’t come to the meeting unprepared.
Usually, parents are only given about fifteen minutes with the teacher. So as not to waste your precious minutes, make sure that you prepare a checklist of the things that you wish to discuss with your child’s teacher. This will help your discussion to go smoothly and prevent you from forgetting anything.
2. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarifications.
Teachers can sometimes use educational jargon that may seem alien to you. Don’t be shy to ask your child’s teacher to explain what a certain educational word means. This will help in preventing any mis-communication in the future. In some cases, a teacher who comes from a cultural background that’s different from yours will say something that may seem offensive or negative. If this happens, quickly clarify with the teacher what he or she means.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask what problems your child may be facing in school.
It is natural for you to be nervous or worried about what your child’s teacher may tell you. If it were up to you, you would want to only hear the good stuff. However, parent-teacher conferences are held not just to make you feel good. The main goal of these meetings is to evaluate your child’s progress which usually involves reviewing issues or challenges that your child may be facing. At times, the truth can be ugly but you have to be ready to face it.
4. Don’t hesitate to ask for specifics.
When your child’s teacher talks about a problem, make sure that you ask him or her to be specific. Ask about the context in which a particular problem occurs and how often it happens. Together with the teacher, try to determine the reasons why your child is experiencing difficulties in learning or why your child is exhibiting unpleasant behaviour.
5. Don’t be defensive.
It is part of your role as a parent to be your child’s strongest advocate. However, when your child’s teacher tells you that your child is having learning or behaviour problems, do not react defensively. Just listen and ask the teacher to be specific on how your child performs or acts differently than her expectations. Avoid making excuses as most parents do.
6. Don’t blame everything on the teacher.
Most parents think that just because they pay a lot for their children’s education, they can already leave everything to the teachers. Parents have to understand that they are primarily responsible for their children’s education. Teachers are just there to help them. So when you receive an unpleasant report about your child, don’t be hasty in blaming everything to the teacher. Remember, your child is in school for just a few hours while he or she spends most of his or her waking hours at home.
7. Don’t forget to make a plan of action with the teacher.
Make sure that you ask the teacher for help in coming up with possible solutions on how to solve the problems that your child is facing. Ask for practical ways on how you can work with your child at home.
8. Don’t be shy to take down notes.
Your meeting would totally be pointless if you won’t be able to remember anything that you’ve discussed with your child’s teacher once you get home. Remember, the point of having parent-teacher conferences is to do something about the problems that your child is experiencing. How will you be able to work with your child at home if you don’t remember what the problems are?
9. Don’t be disrespectful.
No matter what you think of your child’s teacher, do your best to show him or her respect. Respond to your child’s teacher in such a way as to let him or her know that you believe in his or her ability to teach your child.
10. Don’t be late.
Since you’re not the only one to have a meeting with your child’s teacher, make sure that you arrive for your appointment ahead time. If you’re late, then the parents after you would have to wait longer for their turn.
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