Do you teach young learners in an academy or in the public sector?

Do you teach young learners in an academy or in the public sector? If so, you almost certainly write reports and meet parents at teacher/parent evenings. What do you do to prepare for these? What do you say to parents whose kids are having difficulties with their learning? Do you prepare anything to give to parents about helping with their child’s learning? What is acceptable and not acceptable when speaking to parents?

How do you prepare for teacher/ parent evenings?

Pre-meeting

Collect examples of student's work.
I like to take some written work with me to a parent's meeting. This provides the opportunity to show the parents what their child is doing in the class, how well they are doing it and in which direction they can go to make it even better.

Compile a list of resources

A list of online materials in the form of weblinks ranging from fun websites to more serious ones means you can tailor a suggestions list for each parent and their child. Encourage parents to investigate the list with their child together and identify one's which the child enjoys and is willing to visit and the less enjoyable ones which the child should visit.

During meeting

Confirm the student's identity

Start by confirming the full name of the child whose parents you are talking to. You can have students with the same first name in your classes and you don't want to confuse them especially when their academic attainments, efforts and behaviour are all aspects which can vary hugely. Confirming their full name makes you look thorough and it means you can cross reference them in any class documents, such as a register, for attendance and grades and other information.

Ask the parents

Start with the question “How's young X finding the class?”. Asking them how their child is finding the class gives you the time to not only to get information and material ready at your finger tips but it also gives you a feel for the needs and expectations of the parents.

Be positive

You may have a student that doesn't do so well in class but you should avoid comparisons with other students and be sure that the parent can report to their child that you said something positive. You want to be truthful but you don't want to demotivate the student either.

Post meeting

Review and evaluate

Decide what worked and what didn't and be prepared to incorporate this into any future meetings you have.

Make a note

Any information on your student that came out of the meeting could prove useful in a class if it allows you to engage and motivate a little more – likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests.

Pass it on

If there were any issues that were raised that you think need passing on to say a senior teacher then do it sooner rather than later. This should reflect any requests or queries that are made by more than one parent such as exams or recomended readers.

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