Parents’ evenings are essential because they provide you a chance to discuss what your child is doing at school, how they are getting on and cover any issues you may want to talk about with your child’s teacher, or each subject teacher in secondary schools.
It sends an important signal to the school and your child that education is vital, that you care about your child’s school life and that you a partner in your child’s learning.
You should always arrive at the meeting before the scheduled time. During the meeting you may have between 5-20 minutes for the parent conference. Your time with the teacher is therefore limited and you should try to make the most of it. Try to keep in mind you are not the only parent the teacher is meeting with, and try to stay punctual and within your scheduled time.
Be prepared for the meeting. Find out what your child’s grades are before the meeting. Check the grades, assignments and tests results against the expectations for pupils at your child’s age level. Talk about these results with the teacher and how they compare with the class results and where the improvements are needed.
Prepare your questions, prioritising what is the most important. Teachers have many parents to see, and time needs to be used efficiently so you should make sure you ask important questions first.
Always respect your child’s teacher. If she delivers bad news, listen first, then talk. Be polite, thanking the teacher for bringing up a problem and discussing ways in which both yourself and the teacher can solve it together. The end objective is to get the best learning outcomes for your child and a good parent-teacher relationship can only help.
Your child’s teacher might not know of things going wrong at home that could affect your child’s learning: financial problems, a divorce, an illness or a death in the family or moving houses or changes to your schedules could all have an effect on your child.
Arrange a way to communicate going forward. Your partnership with your child’s class teacher should continue throughout the year, so you keep in contact with the teacher, agreeing on the preferred method of communication: emails, phone call, meetings. This way, problems can be addressed quickly, in your child’s learning or behaviour guaranteeing the teacher you have their full support.