Parent teacher meetings (PTM) can be an eye opener. These meetings are not just about how the child is performing in academics or how she can improve on the subjects she is weak in. School education has broadened its scope to all round development of children. Comprehensive evaluation means the teachers in school have to observe each and every facet of the child’s personality like his behavior, awareness, skills, talents, weaknesses, eating habits and many such things apart from academics.
Know your child
Sometimes teachers know our children better than parents because they spend a considerable amount of time with our children. More so if both parents are working. Working parents often miss out on what is happening at school, the activities, the syllabus etc. The only knowledge they have about their kids is whether their school performance is okay, improving or deteriorating, when the report card comes in hand. PTM helps parents to know about this at frequent intervals so that appropriate actions can be taken in time. If the teacher notices any deterioration in performance, parents should sit and analyze what can be the causes, which may be anything ranging from bad company to depression.
PTM is not just about academic performance. Parents should also ask the teacher about the child’s behavior at school. Often we miss out on certain expressions, symptoms of some problem in our child, busy as we are with our own hectic schedule. It is good to ask the teacher if she has observed any change in the child’s general behavior, be it good or bad. In some cases children have a different personality at home and at school. One child may be known as a shy child among adults, but he shows leadership traits at school where he is among same age group children. Another child may be a quiet, obedient, submissive type at home, but a talkative, mischievous one at school. Both examples come as a surprise to parents. While the parents of the child in the first example can feel happy and help the child further to overcome his shyness among adults; parents of the other child should look into their own parenting style and behavior which makes the child quiet at home, may be out of fear.
Ask about the way of teaching
Ask the teacher how she explains lessons of the syllabus. If you have an idea as to how the teacher has explained to solve a problem, the child will understand better if you follow the same method. If you find the child is finding it difficult to understand by that method, you can look for other ways to explain it to the child and also inform the teacher about it. Children do not always speak up in class if they do not understand something. Letting the teacher know about the subjects she is finding difficult will make her pay attention to the child more.
Ask about general school environment
You can ask the teacher about how they deal with problems like bullying, child abuse, security, medical emergencies, personality development, hygiene etc.
Inform the teacher about personal problems of the child, if any
Inform the teacher about any special needs of the child. This will help the teacher to care for the child accordingly. Sometimes the child may be suffering from some physical problem or may be inattentive in class due to some personal tragedy. If these backgrounds are known the teacher can handle the situation sympathetically and even help the child to come out of distressing situations.
PTM is an opportunity for the parents and teachers to know each other too. The teacher gets an idea about the background of the child, as to how much guidance she may be getting at home and so what she needs to do. The parents know the teachers behavior and attitude too. PTM should never be a ground to put blames on each other, particularly if the child too is around. Parents should never criticize about school and teachers in front of the child. Leave the child at home if you need to discuss something serious.
Share the problem areas of the child with each other and seek to resolve the problem together. A friendly talk will inspire both, the parents and the teachers, to help the child better.