Parent teacher meetings are beginning in schools across the country this month, and many schools choose to begin with sixth year students in order to raise any issues early in the year. However, as I mentioned in a previous post, students of all ages must work together with their parents and teachers in order to enhance their learning experience. This begins with communication, and complete participation and engagement in parent teacher meetings by parents, teachers, and students can solve any problems and create a sense of unity in this all-important team.
Parent teacher meetings may be the only time for parents and teachers to meet during the year in the absence of a specific problem, and as such parents should make the most of this opportunity. Arrive early to avoid long wait times for each teacher, and ask your child for a complete list of their teachers and their associated subjects. If your child wants you to bring anything up with one of their teachers, make a note beside their name on the list. Parents’ main objective for parent teacher meetings is usually to identify their child’s current strengths and weaknesses, so try to meet every teacher on the list even if you’ve spoken to them in previous years. Remember to take notes during each meeting so you don’t forget important information. After returning from the parent teacher meeting, debrief with your child and explain the important points to them before making a plan of action to capitalise on their strengths and improve their weaknesses.
While experienced teachers may have been through countless parent teacher meetings and newer teachers may have less experience, most have similar goals: to solve any important problems and explain each child’s strengths and weaknesses to their parents. As such, teachers should try to discuss both positive and negative aspects of each student and avoid focusing on or ignoring either strengths or weaknesses. Keeping notes on students’ behaviour and progress allows teachers to give specific feedback and make suggestions for improvement where possible. Listen to each parent, but arrange to speak further at a later date if one meeting becomes too long. Remembering that each child has a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses will allow teachers to get the most out of parent teacher meetings.
As mentioned above, students should provide their parents with a complete list of their teachers and their associated subjects along with any specific issues to be brought up. Parent teacher meetings provide an opportunity to express any worries and questions you may have, so make the most of it and clear up anything that’s been bothering you. Because most students are familiar with their behaviour and progress in each class, there should be few surprises when parents return with feedback. This feedback is vital for identifying areas that need to be improved and working together to make a plan of action for the rest of the year. Although students are not directly involved in the process, parent teacher meetings are designed to facilitate communication that is centered around the student and as such it’s important for all three to take an active role in solving problems and designing the future.
Parent teacher meetings provide parents, teachers, and students with an excellent opportunity to communicate and, if all three make an effort to engage in the process, this communication can lead to clearer goals and more active and successful learning. Tweet us @adaptemy or post on our Facebook page and let us know your tips for parent teacher meetings!