Parent, Teacher Interview Questions

14 June 2024
14 June 2024 ram-horizon

Parent-teacher interactions are among the most important factors in a student’s success. They help parents understand their child’s school performance and how they can contribute to that success.

Knowing what to ask during a parent-teacher interview ensures you get the right answer and an accurate representation of your child in school. The interviews can be held at conferences or meetings at the school.

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Because the interviews are usually short, usually about 15 minutes, every minute and question counts, most schools will have at least one interview a year, and, in some schools, the students also take part in the interview.

Before the interview, the school might probably use its parent portal or newsletter to inform parents that the interviews are coming up. They can ask you to schedule an interview with the teacher using the sign-up sheet at school or an online booking system.

The interviews are usually held during school hours but can also run before and after school or in the evening. When booking the interview, it is recommended that both parents attend. You can call the school to arrange another time if you can’t manage any of the allocated times.

It is important to be on time for the interviews. However, it’s also possible that the teachers might be running late because of the overflow from previous meetings.

Why Is It Important to Go for the Parent-Teacher Interviews?

Parent-teacher interviews present a great opportunity for parents to:

  • Learn more about their child’s academic performance and emotional and social development
  • Meet and get to know your child’s teachers
  • Help the teachers understand more about your child
  • Make plans with the teacher about how you can both support the child’s development
  • Build a relationship with your child’s school

Even if you don’t have any particular concerns, parent-teacher interviews are still worth attending. It is also one way to show your child that you’re interested in their learning and their progress in school.

If you have concerns, the interview presents an opportunity to raise them with your child’s teacher if you haven’t had the chance.

What to Talk About at a Parent-Teacher Interview

Usually, the interviews allow you to address any concerns about the child and their learning progress. However, it helps to be well prepared to address the most essential factors and avoid going around in circles.

Usually, the interviews are held early in the school year. This allows the teacher to get more information about your child that they can use during the curriculum year.

For this type of interview, you might want to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of your child, their interest and, more importantly, the areas of learning where your child may need additional support.

Some interviews are scheduled when school reports come home, especially for primary schools. For such kinds of interviews, you first need to read your child’s school report carefully and not down anything you want to ask about.

Such interviews also present a great opportunity to share feedback about your child’s experiences at school.

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If possible, prepare a list of interview questions so you remember what to discuss. Interview time can pass quickly, so you must have your thoughts lined up to cover the most crucial issues first.

If you’re not certain what you talk about, here are some of the questions you can use to get you started:

  • What are my child’s strengths and interests?
  • What does my child struggle with most?
  • How much homework should my child be doing every night?
  • How can I help my child with schoolwork at home?
  • How is my child’s behaviour in class?
  • How is my child’s relationship with other students?
  • Are there other support services available for my child in the school?

If you don’t get the chance to go through everything you want to discuss, you may need to arrange another meeting with your child’s teacher. You may also want to request a separate meeting with the teacher if the child is present during the interview without his presence to discuss any additional concerns.

Talking with Teachers at Parent-Teacher Interviews

Knowing how to talk with the teachers during the interviews is vital. You can start by being open and friendly to ensure you set up positive communication with the teacher.

Always show that you respect the teacher by listening carefully and trying not to become defensive even when you disagree with the teacher’s feedback about your child.

You need to get as much information as possible from the meeting, so it is fine to be direct when necessary. For instance, you can ask the teacher to explain and clarify an issue you don’t understand.

If you have any concerns, try to be specific and avoid blame. The easiest way to get a positive outcome is to combine a request with understanding. It can also help if you mention something positive simultaneously to keep the teacher from becoming defensive.

If you intend to discuss any problems with the teacher during the interview, it may be helpful to come up with some possible solutions or at least some positive and practical suggestions. However, you should also be willing to listen to the teacher’s ideas.

If you make any decisions during the interviews, agreeing with the teacher on who will follow up and when is good. Most importantly, maintain open lines of communication throughout the academic year. The interviews shouldn’t be the only time you talk to the teacher.

Should Children Go to Parent-Teacher Interviews?

Some primary schools hold student-led conferences instead of parent-teacher interviews. Students are expected to attend such conferences and usually lead the discussions about their work.

If your primary doesn’t have such a conference in place, but you want your child to come, but it isn’t what the school usually does, it’s best to ask the teacher about it before the interview. Depending on the subject of the discussion, it might be a good idea to have the child in the discussion, but in other instances, it might be better not to have the child attend the interview.

You might prefer to keep the meeting between you and the teacher even when the school allows the students to participate, especially if you feel the focus of the interview will be on your child’s struggles. With the child absent, you can discuss the matters freely and then discuss them with your child afterwards, depending on what you agree with the teacher.

After the Parent-Teacher Interview

Your focus shouldn’t be on the interview itself only. You must also follow up with the teacher on your decisions and resolutions. For instance, you could set up a second meeting or a follow-up phone call in a month’s time.

If you agree to try some new strategies, a follow-up discussion gives you both the chance to see if things are working and if you need to make any adjustments. You should also discuss some of the resolutions with your child and how to help them overcome the areas they’re struggling with.

Can You Arrange Parent-Teacher Meetings at Other Times?

If you have concerns about the academic performance and development of your child, it’s possible to arrange a parent-teacher meeting at any other time outside the formal parent-teacher interview to discuss your concerns.

Your child’s teacher will be more than happy to arrange a meeting to discuss the issues. You just need to contact the school to make an appointment. Some teachers may also be okay with being contacted through their school email account.

You may also want to schedule a separate meeting if you want to discuss a sensitive or confidential topic with the teacher because, in most cases, the parent-teacher interviews are conducted in public areas.

You can also arrange a separate meeting to discuss an issue that could take longer than the allocated 10-15 minutes. You might want to tell your child’s teacher about something going on at home that could affect your child’s behaviour or academic progress, like a separation or demise of a family member.

The parent-teacher interviews can also present a unique opportunity to meet, socialise and build relationships with your child’s teachers, which can help when you meet for formal parent-teacher interviews.

Bottom Line

Parent-teacher interviews serve many functions. They are undisputable crucial to ensuring the student’s success and forging a relationship with the teacher that ensures the student gets the support they need in school and at home. To make the most of these meetings, you need adequate preparation to know the questions to ask to get helpful information. You must also approach the interview with the right attitude to prevent sending the teacher into defensive mode.

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