/ 50 Questions to Ask at Parent Teacher Conferences
50 Questions to Ask at Parent Teacher Conferences
Parent teacher conferences are a brief but valuable window into the world of your child. While you will realistically have time for only a few questions, this list of 50 is a great resource to help you build understanding and communication with your child’s teacher that will last all year long.
BEFORE YOU GO: A great question to ask your child is “What do you think I am going to hear?” Take notes. Ask yourself the same question and write down some questions you might have or, if it is later in the year, how you see things are going from your perspective.
Questions to Solidify Your Partnership with the Teacher
- What is your preferred method of asking a question about my student: email, phone or a note in the planner?
- What can I do to support you and make your job easier as we work as a team for my child’s growth this year?
- What can I do at home to keep academic and behavior expectations on track at home?
- How can I best stay on top of what is happening in the school? In the classroom?
- What do you suggest we do if we are at home and my student gets “stuck” on homework?
- What is your teaching style and how can we be consistent with those methods at home?
- What are your suggestions for limiting online time and social media for this age?
- Does my child have too many extracurricular activities from your vantage point? How do I know if he/she is overbooked?
Questions for the Beginning of the Year
For lower grades:
For upper grades:
- Name the top five skills you hope children will walk away with this year. How can I help them be developed at home?
- What questions would you recommend I ask my child on a daily basis about what is happening at school or in your class?
- What can we do at home to encourage growth in a fun and stimulating way?
- Are there field trips and is there a cost to the families?
- How can I help my child be more organized with homework without completely taking over?
- How do I help my student gain independence in middle/high school?
- How can I stay on top of any behavior issues?
- What is your policy on late homework and make-up work? How does that influence grades?
- How do you handle absences and work missed or tests that are missed?
- What will have the biggest impact on my student’s grade in your class?
Kindergarten teachers, keep all your parent teacher meetings organized with a sign up. SAMPLE
Questions to Get a Feel for Your Child’s Progress
For lower grades:
For upper grades:
- Is my child performing on grade level in math and language arts?
- Are there behaviors you see at school (both good and bad) that you think I might not be seeing at home?
- What subject area is emerging as my child’s strongest this year? What subject area still needs more progress?
- How does the school handle standardized testing and prep for those tests?
- I know grades don’t tell the whole story. Is my student giving his or her best effort?
- What are some essential skills for college that you see are still a “growth area” for my student?
- How can I encourage age-appropriate accountability at home to support what you are doing in class?
- What are you observing in regards to my child’s organization skills? How can I encourage them to be more organized without doing it for them?
If Your Child is Excelling Academically
- Are there ways you personalize learning in your classroom?
- What are some ways I can enrich my child’s learning experience at home in your subject area (or overall)?
- What are some strategies you use to encourage critical thinking in your classroom?
- As my student gets ready for higher-level classes, what areas could they be working on to get them ready for harder course work to come?
Keep track of meetings in multiple grades and teachers with a tabbed sign up. SAMPLE
If Your Child is Struggling Academically
- What are some modifications you might make if you saw a child struggling with your area of expertise?
- What are some tools we can use at home to help my child grow in his understanding of the basic math concepts you are teaching in your class?
- Is my child at a point that you would suggest additional help such as a tutor or enrichment at home? Can you suggest any resources?
- What can I do to support literacy when my student is at home?
- My student is terrible at spelling. How do I help them without humiliating them (especially if they are older)?
- What are some books you think my student would enjoy if she hates to read?
If Behavior is a Concern
It might be good to take notes and hold off on responding/defending your child immediately, so that it doesn’t get tense in the few minutes you have together. A follow-up conference might be beneficial.
- What have you observed, both negative and positive, in regards to my child’s response to classroom behavior expectations? Are they polite and respectful to teachers and students?
- What behavior modifications can we make at home to reinforce expectations at school?
If Your Child is Struggling Socially
- Do you notice any difficulties my child is having socially at school?
- Tell me about your perspective on this situation? What do you see happening?
- Who is in place to catch conflicts that are happening in the lunchroom and recess? How are those handled?
- What do you do to create psychological safety so kids know they can come talk to you about problems?
- What do you think is one area we could encourage at home to improve my child's’ social skills?
Parents, volunteer for the classroom snack schedule with a sign up. SAMPLE
If You Have a Special Needs Student
- What are some ways that my student’s IEP is being fleshed out in your classroom?
- What modifications do you make for students with IEPs during standardized testing?
- Can you suggest some tools I can work on at home to help my child be successful in your classroom?
- How can I be more involved to help my child’s growth?
If Your Student is in a Gifted Program
- Does this school have a resource teacher for gifted students? How is that teacher utilized by you and/or your team of teachers?
- How are my student’s organization and social skills? What areas they can work on?
- Are there enrichment opportunities outside the classroom that I maybe haven’t heard about?
Get the most out of your next parent teacher conference by using some of these questions to cultivate your partnership with your child’s teacher and inform yourself on what’s REALLY going on at school. Remember that you and the teacher both have the same goal: your student’s success in the classroom.
Julie David lives in Charlotte, N.C., with her husband and three daughters. She is a former teacher.