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What to ask at a parent-teacher conference

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 10:06 AM

With the onset of another school year also comes the ritual of the parent-teacher conference. This is a time when kids stay home while their moms or dads head to the classroom. Parents often get some one-on-one time with the teachers in order to ask specific questions or learn how their child is doing thus far. As such, parent-teacher conferences are the perfect opportunity for parents to get answers to lingering concerns. If you're anticipating attending one of these meetings, take a look at these questions you can ask the teacher during your time together: 

What is my child supposed to learn?
The Common Core State Standards are a set of benchmarks for math and English/language arts. They are meant to level the educational playing field from state to state so all students can be measured by the same ruler. Ergo, every grade level contains goals teachers are supposed to help students meet. These goals prepare students for college and careers. As a parent, you likely want to know what is expected of your child so you can help him or her succeed. You don't have to memorize the entirety of the Common Core - just ask your child's teacher what your student is on track to learn this year.

Is my child working at grade level?
Once you know what is expected of your child, you can find out from the teacher if he or she is performing at grade level. If so, then your student's educational course is running smoothly. If not, follow up with the teacher to see if there are ways you can help. You may want to advise during homework time, use online educational resources or find your child a tutor.

What are my child's strongest/weakest subjects?
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, even your child. By finding out what they are, you can help him or her excel. Your child might be great at English, indicating a life headed in a more liberal arts direction. However, if he or she is struggling with math, you know what academic area to focus on helping him or her improve.

May I tell you about my child?
Teachers work with a lot of children, and at the beginning of the school year, they won't know each student very well. The parent-teacher conference is your chance to help your child's teacher get to know him or her better. Maybe your child is very creative or likes to ask questions. These traits could be things the teacher will use to help your child learn.