What should I ask my kids teacher?

I have my first parent teacher night later this week with my daughter’s kindergarten teacher and am looking for some input (particularly from any teachers who may read this) as to what makes a good parent teacher interview?

This won’t be the first time we have met the teacher. Both my wife and I have gone on a few field trips with the class, and have volunteered in the classroom so we already have a relationship with her. But this will be the first  “formal” evaluation where we can sit down for 15 minutes and talk specifically about The Girl and her learning.

So, as a teacher, what do you hope will happen in those 15 minutes? What are you going to try to get across and what do you like to see a parent ask when they are sitting across the desk from you during the interview? And for parents who have done this a few times, what do you think makes a good parent teacher interview?

Image: v2.194: September 10th (Good Day for Mommies) by Phony Nickle. Used under CC license.

4 responses to “What should I ask my kids teacher?

  1. I am a Kindergarten teacher and there is not much time at a parent teacher conference and you are wise to be thinking ahead and to be prepared. I write a daily blog for parents of Kindergartners and I wrote this blog in October with tips for parents heading into a parent teacher conference. Check it out, it should help you.

    http://kindergartenteacherclaire.wordpress.com/20

    Claire

  2. Thanks Claire. Your blog post is exactly what I was looking for. I also got this reply on Facebook from a friend of mine who is an elementary school teacher.

    "I think when it comes to Kindergarten it's all about the relationships and the behaviour. So, you can ask: How is her behaviour? Does she follow directions well? Does she seem happy? How is the social stuff going? Does the teacher have any concerns? Does the teacher have any suggestions of ways to support her learning at home?
    Of course, if you have any concerns at all this is the time to bring them up.
    Don't forget that p/t interviews are a long, tiring and sometimes nerve-wracking day for the teacher. But it can all be made worthwhile by hearing from a parent something that your child has brought home. "The other day M was telling us how you…" Anything that shows something is sticking, or that they're making a difference. And if the teacher is doing a good job, a quick "thank you for all you do" really makes an impression. We really hardly ever hear that.
    Have fun! I actually love parent/teacher interviews… from both sides!

  3. Thanks for posing the question Clint and thanks for your link Claire, I just dropped by and noted down your questions as we have a parent/ teacher interview next week with our 5yr old daughter. Gosh it only feels like yesterday that my own parents were having these interviews with my own teachers. Where does the time go.
    Regards
    Damien

  4. I'm a parent of two kids (older now) and I agree with your friend that at this age it's all about relationships and behaviour. Sometimes not a huge amount can be achieved in 15 minutes, and the teacher will be seeing all of the parents in a row, so I always think these interviews are more about getting a general overview of how things are going – is the child interacting, happy, behaving, are there any concerns? Big picture stuff. And then of course you always have the option to make your own time to meet at other times, if there's specific things you want to check up on later.