As a child, I feared report cards... I was afraid that my grades would be sub-par and disappoint me and (more importantly!) my parents! And, OMG - Mom & Dad would have to go to school and talk.to.my.teacher! What horrors would she tell!?
Now, I look forward to Reports - they are an opportunity to review with my children their accomplishments and progression during the school year. Likewise, I see Parent Teacher interviews as a key checkpoint to ensure that the teachers and myself are on the same page, so to speak, with regards to my children's efforts and outcomes.
I overheard a remark recently by a parent who was dreading the PT interview, and it struck me as odd.... it got me thinking about the relationship I want with my childrens' teachers and the opportunities I see in the PT interview process. Here are some of my thoughts:
- You and the teacher are PARTNERS and equals. There is no need to be worried or scared or defensive - everyone is working together to ensure the best education for your child.
- Know what you want to accomplish in your meeting with the teacher. Bring a LIST or email the teacher beforehand, have specific questions in mind.
- If there are issues or concerns, remember to COOPERATE. The teacher should not dictate to you, nor vice verse. If her suggestions don't work for you logistically, be HONEST - s/he may have an alternate idea, or you could brainstorm together how to make the situation work.
- Even if you hear something you don't like or weren't expecting (hopefully, any major concerns will have already been brought to your attention, if not, I would kindly ask to be kept in the loop on any such issues in the future in a timely manner!), be OPEN to what the teacher is saying. You can't help your child change what you won't acknowledge!
- Teachers see a lot of different students - they can offer insights into your child's character and social interaction, can flag potential learning or behavioural issues to you and can help you identify whether your child is performing the cognitive and motor skills that are to be expected at his/her age. If there are concerns in any of these areas, you can then discuss with the guidance counsellor, your family doctor,or another appropriate resource.
- Stay connected with the teachers throughout the school year - Email for an update or call to chat about a test you are concerned about. Let them know if behaviour is "off" at home, or if there are issues at home that may affect your child's mood or concentration. Find out if the teacher has concerns. Let them know you are always willing and able to do anything you can to HELP them help your child!