Getting Serious: The Parent Teacher Conference
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5. Ask questions: be specific about your youngster’s exact grade level performance compared to the grade he or she is in. You can benefit from the teacher’s evaluations and observations of your child during school time. What areas does she need extra help with? What is her reading grade level? Is there a vocabulary list you can work on at home? Is there a list of recommended reading books? Find out who your child sits next to during free time and who he enjoys playing with. Does he have a special friend? How does your child respond to criticism from peers or the teacher? Is he helpful, does he take the initiative in learning situations, and use problem solving strategies?
5. Thank the teacher: voice your appreciation for the teacher’s time and interest in working with you to help your child succeed in school. Point out something specific the teacher has done that you especially like, such as birthday recognition, display of children’s work, or notes home to parents. Mention a school-related anecdote your child has told you that reflects positively on the teacher or the school. Offer to volunteer in the classroom or with projects which can be done at home.
Each grade level not only helps with academic progress, but with socialization skills as well. Ultimately each success fortifies your youngster’s feeling of self-worth and self-confidence. The parent teacher conference is one vehicle for monitoring and coaching your child through a positive educational experience.
Dr. Valerie Allen is a licensed school psychologist and educational consultant, and mother of six.