At least once a year, and usually a couple of times a year, you will have the opportunity to meet with your child's teachers. It's useful to understand how these meetings work and know what to expect from them.
- What is a parent-teacher meeting?
- How do the meetings work?
- Do I need to do anything before the meeting?
- What sort of questions might I ask?
- Should I talk to my child about what the teacher said?
- Can I talk to the teacher outside of a parent-teacher meeting?
This is a private meeting between you and your child’s subject teachers and home teacher to discuss your their progress. Some schools call these meetings parent-teacher interviews or parent-teacher conferences.
Most schools and kura will give you the opportunity to come in and talk with teachers once or twice a year, usually after a school report has been issued. You don't have to go to parent-teacher meetings but they are a great way to meet your child's teachers, keep up to date with what they are doing at school, be involved in their education and show them that their education is important. If you feel nervous about going to the meeting you can bring along another member of your whānau or a friend for support.
Parent-teacher meetings at secondary school can be quite different from the one's you've attended at your child's primary or intermediate school or kura.
Meetings are often held in the evenings and you’ll be given a time to meet with each of your child’s teachers. They are likely to be for only 5 to 10 minutes and you might attend up to 6 meetings in the same evening. The teachers will be meeting with a lot of parents, so it's a good idea to introduce, or re-introduce yourself, and let them know who your child is.
Meetings might be set up so all the teachers who teach your child in different subject areas are in the school hall, or you may have to visit individual classrooms. The school will let you know where to go. Try to get there early so that you have time to find the room where the meetings are being held.
Take a pen to write notes in case you want to talk to your child or someone else about what was discussed with the teacher.
More than one person can go to the meeting - you are welcome to take other members of your family or whānau. In some schools, the students are welcome to attend, and may sometimes even lead the meeting.
If you have something you would like to discuss about your child that does not relate to a particular subject, you are best to discuss that with their home teacher, or you can ask to meet with the dean.
It’s worth doing some preparation for the meetings to make the most of the time. Read any recent school reports and write down any questions you have. Think about what you’ve noticed about your child’s work and note any comments you’d like to pass on to the teacher.
Talk to your child about how they feel about the each of their subjects and anything that they are finding too easy or too difficult. Ask them if there’s anything they might want you to talk about with the teacher.
You might ask subject teachers:
- Is my child progressing as expected?
- What do they do well?
- What do they need help with?
- What can I do to help?
- Do they participate (take part) well in class?
You might ask the home teacher:
- Does my child seem settled at school? How do they get along with others?
- Are there any areas for concern?
- What's the best way to contact you if I need to discuss anything further?
Even if your child doesn't ask, they'll probably be keen to hear what you talked to the teachers about. Share the positive things that the teacher said and then talk about anything the teacher suggested you could do at home to help them.
If you didn't agree with something that a teacher said, it is better to stay positive about the teacher or the school in front of your child. If you have concerns about anything that was discussed, you should arrange a separate appointment with the school to talk about this further.
Yes, you can talk with any of your child's teachers anytime. It does get more difficult to be connected into school or kura at secondary level, but it's still important to talk with the school or kura and work in partnership with them to support your child.
Ask the teachers what is the best way to contact them. They are usually happy for you to email them with any questions or concerns. You can also often talk to the teacher in person for brief discussions without needing to make an appointment, just make sure you approach the teacher well outside of class times. If you want to have more time for a longer discussion you are best to make an appointment.
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