Meeting with your kid’s teachers can be daunting. Even though you are an adult, something about going to a school meeting can leave you feeling like Matilda dealing with Mrs. Trunchbull.
Well, it’s time to leave that timidity at the door. It is crucial to be proactive in your child’s education. As outlined at The Mighty, here are the top questions you should ask at your next IEP (individualized education program) appointment with your kid’s teachers.
1) What do you think are my child’s greatest strengths? No, this is not about making the teachers brag on your kid, but it’s about learning where your child’s skills lie. Does she have a head for numbers? A natural ability to lead? Find out so you can make most of these talents from a young age.
2) What are the best times to talk with you? Sometimes you want to grab the teacher after school and go over your questions and concerns, but this might not be the best time for her to talk. Ask her the best way to reach her and how she most prefers to communicate, be it email, phone or in person.
3) Do you think ___ is an issue? Share your concerns about things you have noticed, such as your child’s lack of concentration or slow reading. Make sure the teachers are aware of issues you have noticed at home.
4) What can we do at home? Find out from the teachers what you can work on with your child at home. Maybe you can find a fun counting game to play in the car, or you can brainstorm ways to teach personal responsibility.
5) How will we measure progress? The best way to stay committed to progress is to have a clear way to measure your success. So how will you measure whether or not your child is growing? What goals will be set for the coming months?
6) What will an average day for my child look like? Talk about his/her daily schedule and make note of any issues, such as “Owen does better at concentrating after he has a snack.”
7) What are the most important goals to focus on? There are a million things to keep in mind when you are a parent, so ask the teachers to whittle it down to two or three goals that should be your main focus. Perhaps it could be learning the state capitals or improving socialization skills.
8) How can I improve? Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, even if it won’t all be positive feedback. For example, maybe the teacher will tell you that you need to work on punctuality, or that you need to be more hands-off when it comes to directing your child’s homework.
9) What changes have you noticed in my child lately? Is he doing better in math? Having issues on the playground? Talk about what new changes have popped up, as these can sometimes be important red flags.
10) If this was your child, what would you do differently? Ask the teacher how she would parent your child. Would she offer more freedom to be creative? Would she be stricter about bedtime? Listen to the her opinion. It doesn’t mean you have to do what she says, but it can offer some fresh and interesting ideas.