Eight Tips to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Meetings - Glasshouse Christian College

Eight Tips to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Meetings

  • March 14, 2024

Eight Tips to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Meetings

Next week we are holding our Primary Parent Teacher Interviews and early next term it will be the turn of our Middle and Senior School parents. These are wonderful opportunities to gain insight into how your child acts at school and strengthen the parent-teacher relationship.

These opportunities only arise twice a year so it is important to plan ahead to make the most of them. Here are my eight tips to make the most of parent-teacher meetings.

Talk with your child.

School avoidance

By Week 9 (when the Primary meetings are planned), you should have a good idea of how your child is doing at school. However, you might be surprised by what you learn if you set aside time to have an intentional conversation about it with them. It’s important that your child has a positive outlook for school so begin your conversation with what is going well with questions like:

  1. What are you enjoying the most at school? 
  2. What subjects do you think they are doing well in? 
  3. What fun ways are you spending your break times? 

Then it is time to raise other questions like, “Is there anything you are concerned about?” Don’t push the concerns or your child might feel like they have to come up with something when they really aren’t worried about anything. But listen carefully if they have concerns, let them know you have heard them by reflectively listening. Most of the time, it will be minor things that are part of normal schooling but make a note of anything that you want to discuss with the teacher.

2. Look at your child’s schoolwork.

Ask your child or teen to show you their schoolwork over the past few weeks. They will feel valued that you are showing a greater interest and you will learn more about what they are learning and how they are doing. You might notice patterns that you want to raise with your child’s teacher or ask questions about something that you don’t understand. Can you detect if your child might be struggling in one area? Seeing the school work first-hand means that you won’t feel blindsided if something comes up at the meeting. Understanding what your child is learning is good preparation for the parent-teacher meetings. 

3. Set realistic goals.

What do you want to get out of the meeting? We all love talking about our children but there isn’t a lot of time at these meetings so prioritise the questions you want to ask and come prepared with a list. It will help the meeting cover all of your concerns and you won’t kick yourself an hour later when you realise you forgot to ask something. If you do forget to ask something, you can always send an email to the teacher. Please remember that the turnaround time for a teacher to answer is 24 hours as they usually have to do it after school has finished for the day. 

4. Remember your common goal.

You have a lot in common with your child’s teacher in that you both want what is best for your child. Our teachers are highly trained and dedicated to their students’ education and well-being. At Glasshouse Christian College, this is something we excel in. Teaching is not a job you can just do for the money or holidays. It’s a calling and done as a labour of love. Our teachers genuinely care about their students and it’s helpful to remember this during your parent-teacher meetings. You both have the same goal to help your child reach their full potential.

5. Family situations.

These meetings are good opportunities to fill the teacher in on what might be affecting your child by what’s going on at home. Maybe they have a sick sibling or a grandparent who isn’t doing well. Sometimes it might be feeling the stress of a normal household adjusting to the increased cost of living or a pet who might have to be put down soon. Our young people feel things deeply and it is particularly hard on them because they don’t have any control in these situations. Informing their teacher about these situations will give them insight into any behaviour that might not be normal for the child.  Bad behaviour won’t be excused but knowing background situations will help the teacher provide more informative ways to deal with the behaviour. 

6. Focus on helpful things.

Our teachers have incredibly challenging jobs which they throw their hearts and souls into. If you can provide feedback on what your child is finding helpful or enjoying in class, it will not only encourage the teacher but inform them of what is working well for your child. This is a win-win for all of you. 

7. Ask for some pointers.

At the end of your meeting, ask your child’s teacher for three or four things to prioritise going forward. It might be spending more time on Maths homework, helping your child navigate social situations, or encouraging them to take up an extra-curricular activity. There might be nothing at all and the meeting was simply a good opportunity to strengthen the parent-teacher relationship. 

8. Follow up. 

Talk to your child after the meeting and let them know what was discussed in a positive manner. If there were concerns raised about any aspect of your child’s education or well-being, talk to them about it and then follow up in a few weeks after monitoring or working on the situation. Drop their teacher an email if anything changes at home that might have an impact on your child and keep showing your interest in your child’s work. 

I have always found these parent-teacher meetings helpful for my three children and hope these eight tips will help you benefit from them as well. 

Mike Curtis, Principal

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