10Tips for Every Parent Teacher Meeting
I have attended quite a few parent teacher school meetings. I have four children; home schooled three of them until the oldest was ready for junior high school. In all, I believe it was seven years of home school. Three of my children are in public school now. One child has autism; another Type 1 Diabetes; the third, well, she’s a 10 year-old girl navigating adolescence.
In my years of parenting I have learned a few things about schooling, children, and working with other adults.
In particular, learning to advocate for my two sons has taught me the most valuable lessons. These skills are universal and important for any parent. Whether your child has special needs or just needs a parent to advocate for them these tips are important to implement before, during, and after a parent teacher meeting.
KNOW your child. It sounds easy enough, and certainly when they are young we know our kids very well. As they grow, however, our children become more private with their thoughts, dreams, and feelings. Get to know your child.
List 10 of your child’s STRENGTHS. For example, Johnny is thoughtful, kind, helpful, visionary, artistic…
List 5 things your child ENJOYS. Becky enjoys reading, swimming, singing…
List 3-5 things your child LIKES or ENJOYS about school. Rick loves P.E., library, science…
List 3-5 things your child DISLIKES or STRUGGLES with at school. Leah has difficulty with math, writing essays, reading….
Write down your GOALS for your child. My goals for Emily are she has an enjoyable school experience, memorizes her multiplication tables, graduates from high school, attends college….
Ask your other children and family members to TELL your child 1 to 2 things they like about their sibling. Sarah, I love your pretty hair. Rick, you are great at computer games. Sally, I love how you hum when you are reading.
TALK & LISTEN to your child. Starting good COMMUNICATION early will pay off immeasurably later in life. Be gentle with your child, encouraging, and empower them to succeed by giving your time and ear.
Speak RESPECTFULLY to the teacher. My experience is teachers want our kids to succeed. Teachers are there to help and tend to be compassionate people. Communicate respectfully and honestly.
You are a TEAM. As a parent you are automatically a member of TEAM CHILD. Everyone has a part and everyone wants your child to achieve their best. Participate in the meetings as a team member and you will achieve more than trying to go solo.
I hope these tips help with your next parent teacher school meeting. For me, when I shifted my thinking from adversary to team I became a better advocate for my children. Focusing on my child’s strengths while acknowledging their weaknesses has resulted in a better educational approach than ignoring the strengths and focusing on the deficits. Everyone has strengths and talents. Tapping into those and knowing our children help produce better people for the future.