What Should I Ask During a Report Card Conference?
A report card conference is a quarterly meeting where parents meet in-person with their child’s teacher to discuss their child’s academic progress, as well as the teacher’s observations and insight into behaviour of the child, both academically and socially.
Through this, parents get the opportunity to form a trusting and active relationship with the educators who most closely interact with their child on a daily basis.
Teachers are, however, not the only ones who should prepare for a report card conference; parents should as well.
Throughout the school term parents should keep note of questions, queries and considerations about their child’s reaction to the learning environment, specific subjects, school activities and homework.
While parents should address these regularly via e-mail or handwritten notes, these can also be addressed in more depth with the teacher at the report card conference.
A prepared parent with a positive attitude and an open mind helps in creating a successful, year-long partnership with the teacher which ultimately benefits the child.
We have provided a few helpful examples to get the ball rolling.
May I tell you about my child?
Parents and teachers see a child from very different perspectives, and these perspectives develop different realities for each based on different relationships and different interactions with the child.
Parents know their children best so it is ultimately the parent’s job to assist the teacher in understanding their child’s unique traits and characteristics including what motivates and upsets their child, the best way to console their child and what to avoid.
May I tell you about what’s going on at home?
Teachers love and appreciate knowing what is going on in their students’ home lives, so it’s important to keep teachers updated on any changes such as illness or medication, family problems, the arrival of a new baby etc.
This provides context which will help the teacher’s teaching methods and evaluation of a child’s behaviour.
Both parents and teachers sharing their personal insight can positively improve the approach towards a child’s weaknesses and dislikes and help them overcome this.
How is my child’s emotional behaviour?
While academia is very important, don’t let the report card conference revolve around that alone. It’s also important to ask about your child’s emotional health at school.
For example, ask if your child is generally happy, sad, concerned or angry.
When looking at behaviour remember that ‘bad’ behaviour stems from emotion and children having and expressing emotion is normal.
Instead of reactively punishing a child, both parent and teacher should try to understand what caused the particular emotion and behaviour.
How is my child’s social behaviour?
How the child behaves socially in a class and school setting is an important topic.
Ask if your child is friendly, caring, passive, aggressive, engaging of and to other children, as well as if he/she is a bully or is being bullied.
Find out who your child’s best friend is and what kind of activities they do or games they play to keep busy.
This will help you understand the kind of people skills your child has or is lacking.
Does my child have a habit or behaviour they need to improve on?
The best is to approach challenges or issues the teacher raises about your child with a ‘let’s work together’ attitude.
Coming up with solutions on how to help your child will become easy if both the parents and teachers are understanding and willing to act.
You may also want to ask for the teachers’ advice on how best to deal with your child’s habit or behaviour since teachers have worked with many students which makes them wiser on these kinds of issues compared to a parent whose experience usually involves one or three children.
In what ways can I support you as a parent?
Express interest in being an involved parent and assisting the teacher where possible.
Whether parents work full- or part-time being involved to the best of their ability ultimately benefits their child.
How and when can I contact you?
Finally, make sure to ask when and how you can contact the teacher again to see if you are on the right track after the report card conference or to inform them of anything that they need to know regarding your child.
Some teachers prefer phone calls and emails while others prefer face-to-face discussions.
Let SPARK know if you have additional considerations to share when it comes to parent preparation for report card conferences.
If you have any questions about what we do at SPARK, please don’t hesitate to contact us.