How to Get the Most Out of Parents' Evenings
Making the most of parents’ evenings is essential to helping your child achieve their potential in the classroom. While these evenings might feel like just one more thing to fit into your busy schedule, they are important to your child’s academic, social and intellectual development. If you make a concerted effort to get the most out of these informative sessions, you can learn a lot and be a huge help for your child – and their teacher.
If you are planning on attending any parents’ evenings this year, read ahead in order to maximise the event, ask the right questions and learn the most that you can in order to benefit your child.
• Speak with your child before attending – Before heading off to speak with your child’s teachers, it is a good idea to sit down with your child and have a thorough discussion about how they feel about their own progress and behaviour at school, and anything they are having difficulty with. This will prevent any surprises, and also help you prepare some questions for your child’s teacher.
• Start with something positive – Even if you have some concerns, make sure that you start the meeting on a positive note. Tell the teacher that you are happy to meet them, warmly shake their hand and try to find a genuine compliment about their teaching style or their relationship with your child. Even if you plan to bring up some unpleasant questions, this friendly start will go a long way.
• Do your research – In addition to asking your children about their own impressions, feelings and concerns, you need to do your own research into the current curriculum, assignments, deadlines and discipline styles. Entering the parents’ evening with this information will show that you are an active and engaged parent who wants what is best for your child. This will also help you prepare questions and understand more about what the teacher is referring to.
• Bring a pen and paper – Even if you are paying full attention, you will be amazed at what you can forget during a conversation such as this. By bringing a pen and paper you can jot down important points and ensure that you remember all of the information covered.
• Don’t get defensive – This one is easier said than done! You need to enter this meeting with the knowledge that you might hear some negative information about your beloved son or daughter. Take a deep breath and remember that this information is meant to help – not hurt – your child.
• Ask a lot of questions – Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions, particularly if you do not understand something or are unclear about a topic. This isn’t the time to be sheepish! The questions you choose to ask will vary depending on your child’s unique situation, but they might include:
- What are my child’s strengths, and what are their weaknesses?
- How can I help them at home? Would private tuition help?
- How can I help to prepare them for tests?
- What areas should we be working on?
- How do you reward good behaviour, and punish bad behavior?
- How do you boost my child’s self-esteem?
By thinking about the above points and putting them into action, you can ensure that the parents’ evenings you attend are informative, inspiring and of as much benefit to your child as possible.