Don’t just ask about your child’s grades because the report cards can tell you that. Find out how he’s coping emotionally too.
As a parent, what are some questions you’ll ask in your conversations with the teacher?
Are they: Is my child coping well in his studies? Does he need extra help? Is he falling behind on his work?
From conversations with our teacher colleagues, they want you to ask: Do you (teachers) know what motivates him? Which lesson does he enjoy the most? When parents take an interest in areas beyond their child’s academics, they get a more complete picture of how he is doing in school.
Here are the top 5 questions teachers hope parents would ask them.
Is he nice to the people around him?
Does he stand up for his friend who is being taunted? Help his classmate who is struggling with an assignment, without being told by a teacher? We want to encourage him to show kindness, care and consideration for those around him – to be a better person as he grows up.
Does he interact well with his friends?
Is he a good team player? How does he perform when working with his friends on projects? Does he share his thoughts with others, as well as listen to and accept different perspectives. When faced with a conflict, how does he react and is he able to resolve arguments? The ability to communicate and collaborate effectively are important skills your child will need for the future, so find out from his teachers how you can encourage him to develop communication skills early.
What are his strengths?
Beyond academics (which can be easily seen by his scores) are there other areas that he excels in? He may be an engaging presenter, or his classmates respect him because he leads them well in group tasks. Does he complete an assignment, no matter how much he’s struggling with it? Observe what your child’s strengths are from everyday interactions at home, and affirm them. Your child’s teachers will also help in building up his confidence and sense of self-worth.
How can I grow my child’s interest in (subject)?
My child finds Chinese bores him, do you know some things he loves, to help me get him interested? This is vital because when he has an interest in the subject, he will be motivated to find out more. Even if he encounters an obstacle in his learning, he is less inclined to give up immediately. For example, if he can’t bring himself to pick up the Chinese textbook but loves music; why not introduce Mandarin popular songs as a way of exposing him to the language? Also, parents or family members can support the child’s learning by being good role-models. For example, making the effort to converse with your child in mother tongue.
How can we work together to help him?
What can I do to help my child at home? Discuss with the teacher on how you can best support him; your child benefits the most when what he learns in school is reinforced at home. Talk to your child so you’d know what makes him feel supported as well. If your child is in primary school, take time to read together with him to nurture his love for books. The habit of reading aids learning. Parents with older children can discuss with them the news, to help them connect their learning to real-world events. Teachers are also curious to know what your child is like at home — so share with them what you observe about your child’s habits and behaviours outside school. After all, parents know their child best. When teachers and parents work well together, the child wins!