Parent-Teacher conferences can be one of the most crucial days in the life of a teacher, parent, and student. This is because the teacher would have to put their best foot forward and be there to answer all doubts and queries of the parents or guardians. At the same time, parents get to know how their child is performing in school, as this is a place where the child spends more than half of their day.
However, a lot many times there might come a circumstance where a teacher needs to ask certain questions from the parents to understand the mindset of the child better. There can be a lot of instances that can justify the child’s behavior or habits. Hence, asking certain questions from the parents becomes imperative.
In this post, we will talk about these questions, and what power and value they hold in the lives of the teachers, parents, and students.
Parent-Teacher conferences: What all to cover in the meeting?
If there are 24 hours in a day, and the child spends 8 hours sleeping, from the other 16 hours, almost 8 hours of the student’s life are spent in school. This is the time when a student interacts the most with their friends and teachers. However, when we talk about parent and teacher interaction, it hardly happens for about 10 minutes every quarter, and this is why it becomes all the more crucial.
Therefore, it becomes imperative to think about and create an outline of most of the meetings beforehand. It is best to evaluate the child and come up with relevant areas of discussion with the parents.
Listing out questions to the parents:
When the teacher is super closely associated with a student, they can well assess the problems or issues a child might be having. Hence, certain aspects must be considered while framing questions for parents with regard to their little ones.
- Need of the student
When talking to parents, teachers should keep in mind that the parents know their children better than anyone and thus should take advantage of the fact to get to know the child better.
- To discuss any sudden changes if noticed
Growing up, every kid has mood swings and attitudes; that is normal. However, a sudden change in behavior that is not at par with the child’s personality is not normal. So when a teacher notices a sudden change in any of their students, it is advisable to talk to their parents about whether or not they have noticed the same.
- Personality development flaws (if any)
All children are different and special in their kind way, yet there can be various factors that shape a child’s personality and make them an individual with their unique qualities and traits. A lot of external factors like the atmosphere in the house, the relationship of the parents with the students, and much more impact the personality of the child once they are an adult. Therefore, if teachers notice any kind of deviation, they should inform the child’s parents.
- Evident Behavioral changes while socializing
The need to socialize for a child is important and intense, and even if the child is an introvert, there is a big chance that they enjoy socializing partially. If the child is not showing the social traits, it indicates a red flag and this should immediately be brought up to the parents by the teachers. Discussing with parents about it is a great way to get to know the child’s situation outside school and why that might be a trigger for the child.
- Food-related questions
A lot of schools provide meals inside the school premises. These meals are generally nutritious and wholesome. However, if the teachers notice that the student is not consuming the meals the way they used to, or is suddenly throwing tantrums, this calls for a concern call with the parents. Discussions and clarification about a child’s diet and lifestyle are important factors. The teacher also should know about all the allergies the child might have for close monitoring. In addition, most schools hire an in-house nutritionist to time stamp and track kids’ eating habits.
List of common questions for teachers to ask parents
Q1. Are they getting enough sleep?
Sleep is an important aspect of a child’s growth and overall well-being. It also indicates the child’s mood and attitude throughout the day. Sleep can have a great impact on mental well-being and thought clarity. Hence, asking questions related to sleep becomes crucial in a parent-teacher conference.
Q2. Are they behaving in any out-of-the-ordinary way?
Small children and teenagers are prone to change, but some changes are temporary, and others are permanent. These changes can be positive and negative, but the goal is to solidify those positive qualities and negate those negative ones. Therefore, a quality discussion with parents about recent changes in the child’s behavior at home is extremely important for the teacher to understand the child’s current state.
Q3. What do they usually have for breakfast?
This seems odd, but breakfast is said to be the day’s most important meal, and it undoubtedly sets the day for the child. A healthy, nutritious breakfast-eating child will be much happier and more active throughout the day than a child consuming only cereals for breakfast.
Q4. What is their favorite subject?
While a student might score well in a particular subject, it might not necessarily be their favorite one. For example, the child scored well in Math, but there is a great chance that their favorite amongst all is English. It is also crucial because there is a huge difference regarding which one they are good at and which they truly like. And by analyzing both of them, it would be easy for the teachers to conclude what their personalities are.
Q5. What is their least favorite subject?
While it is important to know the most favorite subject of a student, the teacher and parent must also be aware of the least favorite one so that more effort can be put in by both parents and educators in helping them cope with the subject. Thus, during the parent-teacher conference, the teacher should be able to know about that and help the child overcome their difficulties with the same.
Q6. What hobbies do they participate in at home?
A child’s hobbies at home can showcase their comfort and interest. It is possible that that very hobby of interest or extracurricular activities that they are good at may help them in school too. It can also be a possible career prospect for the child if determined and handheld on time.
Q7. What is their primary learning method when at home?
A phrase can be altered and phrased as education begins at home. The active learning approach, instead of the traditional learning approach, can make a huge difference in the mental structure of the child. Teachers must ask the parents what method they use at home to enhance their wards’ overall interests in academia.
Q8. Any family medical history they might be affected by?
When dealing with a bunch of children in the class, a teacher needs to know some fundamentals about them. The teacher can make a conversation with the parents regarding medical histories (if any). Then, to avoid unfortunate or unforeseen future events, teachers can utilize such information to help children with underlying medical conditions at school.
Q9. Any food allergies they have currently developed?
In today’s era, schools are providing students with their mid-day meals. Having said that, it becomes crucial for the school authorities to know their allergies so that any food triggering any medical complication can be avoided. So it is always better to ask and vet the information from the parents themselves than rely on children to have better judgment and avoid consuming such foods.
Q10. How many languages do they speak at home?
Every country and school has people coming from different cultures and backgrounds. So it is not surprising to find a few little polyglots in your classroom? Of course, most children will be bilingual, and a few trilinguals. Still, it has been proven that speaking and engaging with multiple languages can tremendously elevate a child’s espionage. Likewise, asking parents and engaging with the child in a few languages may prove favorable for the child.
Parent-teacher conferences are an essential part of the education system. It is about conveying the progress and concerns of a child to their parents. These quarterly or monthly updates are very important for parents and teachers. School being the most essential aspect of a growing child’s life, changes in the students should be closely monitored. A teacher must consider the strategies mentioned above and ask parents questions so that they are able to know the student better.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,