Parents and teachers all hate parents’ evening but it is a necessary part of education for our children so it’s something to make the most of. As neither you nor the teacher really wants to be there – you don’t want to be faced with angry teachers just as they don’t want to be faced with angry parents – you will make it easier for both of you if you’re prepared and have questions to ask.
1. Is my child happy at school?
Children are less likely to learn if they’re not happy and although when they’re young they’re likely to tell you about anything that’s upsetting them, as they get older this all changes. The mistake that a lot of parents make at parents’ evenings is that they don’t ask about their child’s happiness at school and a lot of the time teachers don’t bring the subject up either.
If you want your child to do well academically then it’s essential for them to be happy in their surroundings so this is a good question to ask. Don’t worry though if your child’s teacher doesn’t describe their behaviour as it is as home because quite often children will be much more reserved in the classroom. However, if a teacher has noticed that you child’s behaviour has changed significantly then this is something to ask about at home.
2. How is my child’s attitude towards work?
Your child is unlikely to talk to you about their school work because when they get home they’re tired and the last thing they want to think about is more work. Asking your child’s teacher means that you’ll get an honest answer about everything so you’ll know if your child is willing to get their head down and work or if they prefer to sit and chat with their friends. If you find out that your child is a bit of a chatterbox then it’s better to know sooner rather than later so that you can sit them down and find out the reason.
It could be the fact that they find school boring and would prefer to chat to their friends or it could be that they find the work too hard or too difficult in which case they might need to be moved so that the work is more manageable or more challenging.
3. Is my child working at the right level for their age?
Most teachers will try their best to keep a parents’ evening meeting positive – unless it’s completely impossible – so this type of question will help you gain a clear answer about your child’s ability. You will be able to identify whether or not your child needs some extra support and will be able to discuss this with the teacher at your meeting.
4.Which subjects is my child good at?
If you receive negative reports about your child then parents’ evenings can be upsetting however try to displace some of the negative with some positive feedback and find out where your child does well.
5. How can I support my child?
Finally, perhaps the most important question to ask is how you can support your child’s learning at home. A lot of parents don’t know where to start when it comes to their child’s homework – especially as they get older – so not only will being up to speed on what they’re doing make you feel better it will also reassure them as they know that they have somewhere to go if they’re struggling.