A follow on from ‘What to ask Teachers and Professionals during Meetings’
These questions look at the expectations for homework, tests and exams as well as the basic administration questions such as contact points and dates.
If you have not read ‘What to ask Teachers and Professionals during Meetings’, ‘Understanding the Questions to ask at Teacher and Professional Meetings: Part One’ and ‘Understanding the questions asked at Teacher and Parenting Meetings: Part Two’ please take a moment to read these articles first.
Reviewing and understanding the questions - the benefits of the right answers
Questions 11 – 17
11. Expectations (i.e. homework, tests and exams – time, assistance and outcomes)
- It is difficult to determine exactly what each teacher expects from their class. There are some basics that remain the same but sometimes teachers have specific systems or expectations for their class.
- Usually, Foundation Phase requires parent involvement when it comes to homework. It is useful to find out how much responsibility the teacher expects the child to take on and where she expects your involvement and guidance. Intermediate Phase starts to move towards more independent learning which is expected at high school level. High school teachers expect the children to manage their own schedules and work.
12. What type of homework will you give and what are the deadlines? (What is due daily/weekly or what is required for projects/exams/assessments)
- • This question is aimed at Primary School. Parents need to teach their child time management. They also need to ensure that children are managing and completing the necessary tasks. If you are unaware of the teacher’s term plan and expectations you are putting your child at a disadvantage as they cannot rely on you for support (kindly note the word ‘support’ not mom or dad ‘doing everything’).
13. Is my child managing to complete the work (in class as well as homework)? Do they have the current abilities to work in class or in sessions effectively?
- This question is important for all grades. A child that is not completing homework or class work needs assistance. This difficulty must be investigated and underlying causes identified.
- Concerns in this area may result in your child needing to be assessed by a professional. Try glean as much information as you can from the teacher as possible so that you have detailed information when approaching the necessary professional.
- If you are already seeing a professional they may refer you to another professional.
14. How can I, as a parent, be involved or assist?
- Your involvement can be anything from one-on-one with your child to being part of the PTA. However, when the meeting is purely to focus on your child ensure that you know exactly how the teacher would like you to assist.
15. How can I check up on grades and all classwork (tests, assessments, etc.)?
Remember you are entitled to see ALL of your child’s work.
- This is purely an administration question but important for you to gauge other concerns, for example, for a child who is not performing access to their tests may help you figure out what is happening (they could be blanking out in exams).
16. Bring up your own concerns, observations and ask questions related to your child. Remember, your child will be different in different environments. It is important to know about any major descrepancies.
- This is your turn to bring up your concerns. I recommend always attending meetings with a list of concerns you may have at hand, for example, your child may be struggling with reading, lack concentration at home or you might be fighting the homework battle everyday. The previous year the relationship with the teacher may have been strained. Personality clashes are not unusual in daily life so why wouldn’t they be at school?
17. What is the best way and time to contact you (teacher and/or professional)?
- Do not forget that for every successful year the key is positive and effective communication. Do not leave without having a way to touch base with the teacher or professional.
In conclusion, expectations and administration go hand in hand. The information given should be transferred onto a calendar at home so that your child and you can access it easily. The above questions are the nitty gritty part of ensuring you have all your ducks in a row for the year.
Nothing is set without a Calendar