Know what to ask at Meet the Teacher this week

Maribel Salazar, 7, finds her new teacher for second grade with her mother, Cindy Tirado, at Caldwell Heights Elementary at Meet the Teacher Night in 2014.  Karla Held, For American-Statesman
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Maribel Salazar, 7, finds her new teacher for second grade with her mother, Cindy Tirado, at Caldwell Heights Elementary at Meet the Teacher Night in 2014. Karla Held, For American-Statesman
Maribel Salazar, 7, finds her new teacher for second grade with her mother, Cindy Tirado, at Caldwell Heights Elementary at Meet the Teacher Night in 2014. Karla Held, For American-Statesman

Maribel Salazar, 7, finds her new teacher for second grade with her mother, Cindy Tirado, at Caldwell Heights Elementary at Meet the Teacher Night in 2014. Karla Held, For American-Statesman

We are one-week out from the start of school for many local students. This week, many elementary schools have Meet the Teacher events.

The folks at Edutopia website have compiled a list of 19 meaningful questions to ask your child’s teacher for a productive conversation during meet-the-teacher night.

As schools and parents across Central Texas prepare for the meet-and-greet, here are five questions from the Edutopia list that would work for most any grade level:
  • How will you respond if or when my child struggles in class?
  • What are the most important and complex (content-related) ideas my child needs to understand by the end of the year?
  • What kinds of questions do you suggest that I ask my children on a daily basis about your class?
  • Is there technology you’d recommend that can help support my child in self-directed learning?
  • What are the most common barriers you see to academic progress in your classroom?

Remember, Meet the Teacher is as much a get-to-know you session for you with the teacher and for the teacher with you. It’s also a crazy time for teachers who are meeting as many as 25 to 30 students and their parents for the first time.

Here are our don’ts for that day:

  • Don’t expect the teacher to remember everything you’ve told them at that event. Follow up with an email that references the conversation and tells you how nice it was to meet that teacher and how excited you are for the year.
  • If your child has some special needs (and don’t they all) or something you want the teacher to know about your family or your child’s learning style, follow that up in an email.
  • If your child doesn’t get the teacher you thought you wanted or your child wanted, or isn’t in the same class with your friends, fake enthusiasm anyways. Let your child know that yes, you hear that she is disappointed, but it’s going to be a great year. Teachers and principals give us advice on what to do if it really isn’t a good fit. 
  • Don’t keep information from a teacher. A study last school year found that teachers do want to know about changes in the family or mental health issues, not just learning differences.
  • Don’t get frustrated by the craziness of Meet the Teacher and then the first few weeks of school. Find ways to be a partner with your child’s teacher and with the school. Find tips from one former principal here.

Find more information and tips about back to school with our special back to school site, austin360.com/backtoschool.

— Statesman education editor Robert Eckhart contributed to this blog.

 

 

 


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