Fall is the time for Back to School Nights and parent-teacher conferences. You may be wondering what to expect at these events. At most schools, you will get a chance to walk your child’s schedule and meet with each teacher for 10-15 minutes, usually as a group. This is a great opportunity for your child to show you what they do each day. As a parent, it is also a great time to meet and establish a working relationship with each of your child’s teachers. So, what should you do to get the most out of those valuable 15 minutes?
1. Introduce yourself and let the teacher know about your child. Many times, the conferences at the beginning of the year are group conferences with a bit of time afterwards to talk with the teacher. Make sure the teacher knows who you are and who your student is.
2. Try to get an idea of the teacher’s expectations for the class. Make sure that your student has all of the necessary supplies and resources to meet those expectations.
3. Check in to ensure that your student is participating and doing their best work. Ask to see samples of work your child has done so far. Seeing completed and graded assignments is the best way to understand whether your student is meeting classroom expectations.
4. If there is an abbreviation or piece of educational jargon that is used that you don’t understand, feel free to ask for clarification.
5. See if there is anything that the teacher needs for the classroom or any way that you can help. This is a way to ease the burden on the teacher and develop a good relationship with him or her. Often teachers have a great need for supplies and volunteers for their classrooms and having parents help out can make the classroom environment better for everyone.
And if you leave feeling like you still have questions or concerns, remember parent conference night is not the only time to talk with teachers. Parents should contact teachers regularly to check in on their child and see what they can do to help. It is beneficial to already know your child’s teacher well should a problem ever arise later in the school year.
This week Spotsylvania County has Back to School nights for elementary school on Tuesday 9/23, high school on Wednesday 9/24, and middle School on Thursday 9/25. In Fredericksburg City, Walker Grant’s Back to School Night was Wednesday 9/17, James Monroe Thursday 9/18, and Hugh Mercer is Thursday 9/25.
-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.