I have a couple of friends.
Suman always tries to find ways to skip his child’s parent-teacher meetings. He comes up with new reasons every time, but ultimately, he wants to escape what he perceives as boring and time-wasting rituals. And in many cases, they are.
On the other hand, Vahini gets nervous before parent-teacher meetings, and it’s clearly visible on her face. It’s as if her 9-year-old’s medical seat is almost going to be denied today!!
I have always been puzzled by why these parent-teacher meetings are considered so important, why schools organize PTMs regularly, and why some parents react so intensely.
Therefore, I decided to dive deep into this matter and witness some of these meetings. Here is what I have learned and come to believe.
What is a parent teacher meeting?
A parent-teacher meeting is a way of bringing together two different people who have been taking care of one single entity – the child.
On the other hand, parent teacher meetings are not just for discussing academic scores (or at least they shouldn’t be limited to that, if you still believe in it). Neither are they complaint sessions.
They are an opportunity for open communication and collaboration between the two parties responsible for the healthy growth of the child.
Why parent teacher meeting is important?
A parent and a teacher, both are responsible (even if any of them deny it) for the growth and development of a child. If either one is weaker, the child will suffer for sure.
So, in that way, parent teacher meetings are essential. A child spends around 6-7 active and closely monitored hours with their teachers and the rest with their parents. Therefore, both parties have a significant influence over a child’s development.
Hence, it’s essential for both of them to meet and discuss from time to time. It’s like a meeting of two remote teams working on the same product. It might sound too technical, but that’s the reality.
In conclusion, parent teacher meetings are not just important; they are necessary.
But it’s equally important that they are done in the right way.
The parent-teacher meetings I have observed sadly concluded as follows:
1) If a student is obedient and achieves high scores, teachers would inform the parents about their child’s good performance. The parents would feel happy and proud, and they would leave content with the feedback.
2) However, if a student is not doing well in terms of scores or displays a questioning attitude, the teacher would make the parents feel sorry or disappointed. I can only guess what would happen at home afterward.
3) Both the parent and child would sit in a corner and review the last test papers to identify the mistakes the child has made.
As a parent, I can better understand what questions parents should ask teachers during a parent-teacher meeting.
I started preparing the list, testing these questions practically, and finally associated them with one of our previous blogs about 5 essential life skills kids need for the future.
Here is the exhaustive list of questions you can ask at parent teacher meetings, and I hope this would benefit the community at large.
What questions to ask in parent teacher meeting
Here are 45 questions a parent can ask to the teachers during parent teacher meetings. You can pick the questions depending on the age of the child and your conversation and repo with the teacher.
1) What things interests him?
2) Where does she pay attention keenly?
3) What are the strengths of my child
4) What are the area of improvement since we met last
5) Have you found any health or fitness specific issue about my child which I should take care of?
6) Are there any signs of academic or emotional stress on my child? How can I help him overcome stress?
7) Is she effectively managing the workload and her time? What suggestions do you have for her and also for me to help her with that?
8) Would you recommend an upcoming program or event which she should take part in?
9) Does he participate in class discussions and activities? Which of them he participates enthusiastically and which he tries to avoid?
10) Does she finish assignments and projects on time?
11) have you given this feedback to him? What was his reaction?
12) I want to give my child a pizza party tonight. Would you give me a strong reason for that? 🙂
13) He is very much interested in and wants to give a lot of time to it. How can the school support that?
14) Is he doing way too much than he can handle? What would you suggest he drop off.
15) What are the top skills and abilities you think she will walk away with this year?
16) Does my child look happy at school?
People and behavioral questions
17) Does she have fights/ frequent fights with anyone?
18) Is he making friends in the class and out of his class?
19) What activities bond him with the rest of the schoolmates.
20) How does my child interact with teachers and peers? Does she communicate politely but confidently?
21) Are there any upcoming events where she can be part of the organizing team along with her peers?
22) How does my child collaborate with peers during project making, studies, assignments etc?
23) Does she listen to her peers attentively and let them finish their say?
24) Does he take a leadership role in the class for anything?
25) Have you noticed him asking for help from others, specially out of his circle?
26) Does she ask questions during the class?
27) Does my child take enough advantage of resources at school like libraries, laboratories, sports fields and others?
28) Did she ask some thoughtful questions in the debate she took part in last week?
29) Did he mention a couple of interesting points when he had to give a talk about the day before yesterday?
30) Do you have in class projects/ model creation sessions? How does he respond?
31) What opportunities are provided to her to foster her creativity and imagination.
32) Would you please organise creative activities like painting, music, dancing, crafting, story telling, writing, project making, public speaking etch, which surely will help not just mine but all the kids?
33) how can I encourage her to take part in at least two of these? What other workload can be shed so he can pay attention to these?
34) What’s my child’s preferred creative outlet?
Questions to help you improve as a parent
35) How can I support my child at home
36) How can I encourage my child to take part in
37) How can I actively support my child, the teachers and the entire school?
38) Would you recommend some activities and projects I can do along with him at home?
39) Would you recommend any book or material I should read?
40) How do I build a better bond with my child?
Questions which should be given too little of weightage
41) How is my child doing academically? Are they meeting grade-level expectations in subjects like math, reading, and writing?
42) Why is she struggling this much with (a specific subject?)?
43) Does he finish his homework and assignments on time?
44) Would you suggest a practice assignment to improve her?
45) Is my child keeping up with the school curriculum?
Hope you have a genuine answer to your questions like What to ask during a parent teacher meeting.
If you agree with any of these, please share the link with other parents. Who knows, asking a couple of right questions may enlighten your child’s future, if not bring a new version of the Bhagavad Gita!