Over the holidays we received in the mail the girls school report cards. I always love getting their reports to see the comments and grades, but mostly their comments. I agreed with Bethy and Amy’s report wholeheartedly, and while I had a couple of questions relating to Bethany’s report – I was overall happy, as I feel that her learning needs are finally being considered and her learning issues at school are being catered for. I found Chanel’s report a little puzzling. While all her comments were pleasing, and her grades were good, I found that she was given a D for computers. Chanel uses the family computer on a regular basis and she seems confident and able to get where she needs to go with ease. She uses both the mouse and keyboard, and if she has questions she always asks. Chanel is in year one, and call me crazy, but a D in a subject that involves typing, copying and pasting is quite harsh. If there is more to the computer class for year one I would like to know about it?
One of the many things I liked about uni was that at the start of every semester you are told what the expectations are and what you will be studying for each subject. I know that children are children and probably wouldn’t care if they were told or not, but from a parental point of view, it seems silly that we aren’t told upfront what concepts our kids will be looking at studying each term for each of the subjects.
My three school age children are all different in terms of how they learn, so it makes sense to me that we are given a list and even an explanation of the criteria, so that if our kids need help, we can help them based on what the teacher requires. Maths is an area that I always struggled in at school, and while I now get more than I did back in those days, teachers should put together a ‘how to’ cheat sheet for us parents. I am sure that teachers are taught to teach certain things in a certain way, so if they are marking our kids in a particular way, it makes sense that they also teach us parents via a cheat sheet so that we can back up the teacher from home.
I am not a homework fan, but there are times when we have to spend time helping our kids go to that next level… doesn’t it make sense that if our kids are going to do well, they need the support of their parents? Parents need to be armed so that we can help our kids, particularly if they have a learning issue, and while I feel that we need to be armed, I also feel that teachers need to be passionate about what they are teaching.
They need to be passionate about our kids, and while I feel that Chanel’s teacher is passionate about our kids and what she is teaching, I don’t believe she fairly graded Chanel with a D. So, how do you have a successful parent teacher interview? How do you question the teacher without ticking him or her off? Do you bring wine or a home baked cake to soften the frustration that you have with a teacher who is passionless and or cranky? If parents can’t ask teachers the hard questions, it makes it very hard for anyone to be challenged and as a result, there will be no growth.
Challenge will always force people to grow, and its not necessarily the child or the parent who needs the growth – if you get my point! Here are my top questions for a good parent-teacher interviews.
1. What are my child’s strengths?
2. What are my child’s weaknesses?
3. How does my child interact and relate with other children in the classroom?
4. Who does my child play with at play break?
5. Does my child resist or is my child hesitant to us particular materials?
6. What is your overall impression of my child?
7. What can we do to support his learning at home?
I am more than prepared to help my kids succeed at school, however, it is important for a parent to feel as though our children’s teachers are also doing their job and are passionate about what they do….if they aren’t passionate, whats the point. I am lucky that all three of my girls this year have teachers who are passionate about their jobs, but we have had teachers in the past who aren’t and boy from a parent point of view – its incredibly frustrating!