November 19 2015

Principal’s Message Nov 18, 15

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our un-derstanding. Job 37:5

This week parent teacher interviews will be held at both the Kindergarten and Primary School. When I have talked to students about how they are feeling about the upcoming interviews I get a mixture of responses. Some students are happy that their parents are going to hear about all the great things that they do at school and are looking forward to their parents coming home happy as well. Other students are a little more apprehensive. I find that children can fairly accurately predict what the teachers will tell their parents and some students know that their parents will receive a mixture of good and not so good news.

Similarly, some parents will go to the interviews confidently knowing that they are going to hear great things about their child, while others are pretty sure that it will not all be good news. It is important that parents remember that the aim of the parent-teacher interviews is not to judge a child, but they happen so that the parents and teacher can work together to improve how the child is progressing at school.

With this in mind, I would encourage you to try to make the most of your interview time with
the teacher. The time slots are not long, but you can make the most of your time by coming prepared. To help with this, below are some guidelines from parenting expert, Michael Grose, on how to make the most of your inter-view:

1. Prepare well. Before the interview, list any questions that you want to raise. Keep questions short and to the point.

2. Attend with a partner or friend particularly if you are nervous or unsure. It is easy to miss a point and of-ten difficult to relay information to a partner.

3. Give the teacher a chance to make an assessment of your child’s progress. This may seem obvious but some interviews never get off the ground because enthusiastic parents take over.

4. Take notes and clarify information that you don’t understand. “What do you mean by ‘he needs to spend more time reading’…?” Make sure you have a good understanding of the messages your child’s teach-er is giving.

5. Be prepared to give an assessment of your child’s performance. You may be asked how you think your child is performing so give an honest, but realistic assessment.

6. Ask how you can help your child if there are any areas that need to be strengthened. No doubt your child’s teacher will have some strategies for you to assist your child, so make sure you have a clear under-standing before you leave. If there are unresolved issues or you wish to discuss your child’s difficulties in greater detail, consider asking for another interview. This is being respectful of the teacher’s time and of those parents who are to follow.

Once the interview is over consider how you will discuss it with your child.

• Avoid giving generalisations or simplistic appraisals such as: “The teacher says you are a good girl.”

• Discuss areas that need work in positive terms. Talk about strengths or successes first before discussing areas that may need more work.

• A clear message such as, “We talked about your reading and the teacher suggested that we should try…” is far more helpful.

• Involve your child in discussing any plans for improvement. Avoid making big plans for your child to im-prove in a subject area without consulting him or her. By involving children and taking notice of their ideas plans are more likely to be successful.

More great parenting tips from Michael Grose can be found at: