Parent-teacher meetings are anxiety-provoking for many parents. Sometimes it is the first time we are meeting our children’s teachers. Then there are the added pressures of waiting around, time limits on meetings and not knowing what to ask our children’s teachers. Typically, we ask how our child is doing in the teacher’s class, but when your child has special needs, there is more information you need to know.
 
Preparation is key to a successful parent-teacher meeting. First, ask your children questions about school such as:
  • How do they think school is going?
  • What do they like the least?
  • Are there subjects they need more help with?
  • How they are getting along with their classmates?
  • What would they change if they could?
Then, make a list of topics to cover at the meeting. Put your most important concerns at the top, because you may not have enough time to cover all of the topics. If you have complaints, bring examples if possible. For example, if you are concerned about the amount of homework, bring information on assignments from one or two nights and the length of time your child spent on them.
 
 
Here are examples of questions to include on your agenda if they apply to your child:
  • Is my child happy in your class or at school?
  • How would you describe my child’s motivation to learn?
  • Is my child keeping up with her peers? If not, do you know why? How can we improve this?
  • Is he actively participating in class discussions – asking/answering questions?
  • How is her attention/concentration?
  • Do you think handwriting is a struggle for my child?
  • Does my child understand what he is reading?
  • How is my child doing socially? Does he have friends? Does he play with other children during breaks?
  • What progress are you making toward the goals on my child’s IEP?
  • What are your expectations of my child? Is she meeting those expectations? If not, are the expectations realistic given your child’s age and ability?
  • Is my child getting enough support to succeed in your class? If not, what supports do you recommend?
  • Are there any behavioural issues? If so, ask for examples.
  • Are you happy with my child’s homework?
  • What should I do at home to help my child?
Here are some final tips:
  • If the teacher raises any concerns about your child, ask for specific examples to help understand the problems.
  • Inform the teacher of any issues at home that may affect your child’s schoolwork.
  • If you are happy with all or part of the work your child’s teacher is doing, make sure to tell her.
  • Because of the time limits, you probably will not get to all of your questions. So, before you leave the meeting ask for an appointment to discuss the remaining issues.
Keep in mind that you need to maintain a good working relationship with your child’s school. So, it is important to avoid being argumentative or confrontational. Remember, you are both working toward the same goal – helping your child achieve their potential
Special Education Advocate
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