10 Key Questions to Ask At a Parent Teacher Conference

Back to school night

Whether your child attends a public or private school, parental involvement in education is key. Parent teacher conferences are a vital tool for understanding how and what your child is learning, but if you don’t ask the right questions, it can be a wasted opportunity. Here are 10 key questions to ask during a parent teacher conference.

  • 1. Ask to see samples of your child’s work and discuss it with the teacher.  Did it meet or exceed the standards? What can be done to make it better?
  • 2. Have the teacher give you a copy of a rubric they use to grade student work.  Teachers may have a different rubric for each assignment, but it is a good idea to get a copy of at least one so you can see how they determine the student grade.
  • 3. Find out the areas your child is strong in and where he/she excels.  Often teachers save good comments for “good kids” and bad comments for kids that annoy them.  But it is important for teachers to be able to speak praise of all students and look for areas of improvement for even their favorite students.  Sometimes it takes a parent’s inquiry to bring this to the table.
  • 4. Find out the areas your child needs to improve in.  If they are struggling in math or language arts, ask about any supplemental services that may be offered at the school.
  • 5. Ask for recommendations on how you can help your child with schoolwork at home. Find out what you can do at home to best  support the teacher’s lessons in the classroom.  Your child will learn best when you and the teacher are doing your best to support each other’s vision for your child.
  • 6. Find out if your child is performing on grade level.  Is the curriculum taught  in the classroom below, at or above the grade level standards?  Unfortunately not every teacher grades the same way, sometimes students may receive high marks, because they mastered the material in class, but if the material in class was not grade level material they may still be behind.
  • 7. Ask how your child is assessed and how often assessments are given.  Are there more multiple choice exams, are they expected to write, give oral presentations, do research?  For years I taught high school and I always required my students to give an oral presentation.  I was disappointed at the amount of students who informed me that my class was the first that required them to get in front of the class and speak.  So many teachers are inundated with standardized exams that the focus gets clouded.
  • 8. Ask about the social behaviors of your child.  Although academics are the primary reason for classroom time, social behavior is also very important. Is your child distracted during lessons, using a cell phone during class, do they get along well with their peers, etc.
  • 9. Share any information you want the teacher to know about your child, so they can better serve his or her needs.  Remember that the teacher does not know any background information regarding your family. Sometimes providing information helps the teacher understand your child’s unique needs.
  • 10. Find out the best way to communicate with the teacher.  Does the teacher prefer to be e-mailed, called on the phone, do they use social media?
  • Do you feel your parent teacher conferences go well?   Are there concerns you have with your child’s teacher that go unanswered? What questions would you add to the list?

    Angele is a wife to a wonderful creative husband, mother to two beautiful intelligent daughters and a lover of art, education and laughter.  She is the creator and author of ABC remix.


    About Angele

    Angele is a wife to a wonderful creative husband, mother to two beautiful intelligent daughters and lover of art, education and laughter. She is the creator and author of ABC remix

    • Yellowandbluemakegreen

      “Ask about your child’s behavior in class.” That is so important. Growing up, I had trouble getting along with my peers. After the age of 9, I began getting into several fights and verbal matches. This resulted in detention or even suspension. My grades had fallen, I was making D’s and F’s. Though always a fat child, my weight had ballooned drastically. I grew into an adult with a lot of emotional problems. As I reflect upon my past, I now see the error of my ways. Though I blame no one but myself, I wish my mom had asked the question, how are you getting along with your friends at school? Emotional IQ is more important than anything. You could be the most brilliant person in world, however, if you can’t get along with others you will not go far. If your child comes to you saying, “I don’t have any friends, or I don’t have anyone to play with at P.E, please pay attention to this. Listen to them. Don’t shut them down, or fuss at them every time they confide in you. While you’re listening ask yourself, is my child around the wrong type of people? Does my kid have some quirk that aggravates other kids? Does my child respect the boundaries of others? Or is this just temporary? My folks never took my problems in school seriously. Now, I’m almost 30 and just getting my life together. Some kids aren’t born knowing how to socialize. Some need help.

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