To make the most of PTMs

To make the most of PTMs

Parent-teacher meeting illustration.

Do your homework

To ensure that meeting with the teacher is productive and goes off smoothly, you should do your homework beforehand. The first step is talking to your child. During the conversation, she will share valuable inputs about the teacher in particular, and the school in general. Try to know from her if she would like you to talk about something specific with the teacher. Explain the significance of these meetings to her education. Convince her that there is no reason to dread about the meeting. Get yourself updated about the child’s assignments, learnings, test papers and activities in the class. Make a list of all that you would like to ask the teacher. Also, do not hesitate to carry a notebook with you to jot down what the teacher says so that you do not miss out later.

Prioritise your queries and take it up one at a time. Since this is the beginning of the year, you can get an overview of the curriculum from the teacher which will help you and your child plan, organise and manage time efficiently for the rest of the year. Some other questions that you ask may include whether she is participating in class activities, her social skills, any unusual behaviour that the teacher might have noticed and what you can do at home to help the child. It is important for you to pass on any such information which you think will help the teacher deal better with your child in school.

Reach the venue on time and greet the teacher with a smile. Introduce yourself and do not forget to mention how much your son or daughter is fond of her. Remember, teachers are often just as nervous as you are. This is the best you can do to put her or him at ease. There will be a long queue of parents waiting to see the teacher once you are done. So it is advisable not to waste his or her precious time on irrelevant topics. After all, both you and the teacher have the same goal and that is to bring out the best in your child. Let the teacher initiate the conversation. In this way, you will find many of your questions already answered. Make eye contact as much as possible. Listen attentively and take notes of whatever she says. Do not interrupt in between.

On the other hand, keep an open mind and do not get angry or upset when she is pointing out to some weaknesses. All of us want to hear good things about our children but the reality is sometimes different. In such situations, it is advisable to relax and be calm. Have respect for the teacher. Share your ideas about your child’s personality, interests (as no one knows your child better than you do) and work out a way for your child’s happiness and success, which is the priority for both of you. If you do not understand something, do not be afraid to ask the teacher for clarification. Some specific suggestions resulting from this dialogue between you and the teacher will become your action plan for the year. This will, in turn, help you in tracking your child’s progress. At the end of the meeting, thank the teacher for all her help and support. It is better to wrap up the conversation within 10 to 15 minutes.

Teacher’s role

In parent-teacher conferences, the teacher’s responsibility lies in giving an accurate assessment of the students’ academic progress. Firstly teachers should welcome the parents with a smile and make them feel comfortable. It is good to start with the positives and then go on with the things that the student needs to work on. Again, it is good to finish the interaction on a positive note. While discussing areas of struggle, teachers should keep some work samples ready to show to the parents. Teachers should act in a professional way even if the parents are criticising her or the school. They should be polite and listen attentively to what the parents have to say. Teachers should give an honest feedback and at the same time get inputs from parents regarding the child’s impression of the school.  

Once the interaction with the teachers is over, talk to your child and explain to her the future course of action in a positive way. Ask for her suggestions. Do not blame her for any of her problem areas that the teacher may have shared with you. Give her a surprise gift if the teacher is all praises for her so that she will be motivated to perform better. Stay in touch with the teacher.

 

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