Depending on how well your child has been doing in school, you may either be looking forward to hearing plenty of praise of your child or you may be dreading hearing about areas of weakness at the next parent-teacher conference. These conferences are particularly difficult for parents of special education students because they often raise more questions than they answer. However, by coming to the meeting prepared, you can best use the time you have been given to get clearer information about how your children are progressing and to learn what you can do to help the process.
You should start by giving teachers a time to talk about any topics on their minds. This will set the tone for a friendly meeting in which conversation is open and honest. Plus, some of your questions may actually be answered as you listen.
Once you feel that it is a good time to start bringing up any questions or concerns you have, begin with the most basic first to get a better understanding of how your child is doing. For example, ask about what your child will be learning and how he or she will be evaluated. This may be a good time to ask about test-taking skills or about ways in which you can help your child study for tests and quizzes at home. You may also want to ask about class participation and about which subjects your child seems to excel in and which are a struggle.
However, you do not want to focus solely on academics during this time. The teachers have much more information that they could share with you about all aspects of your child’s character and growth. You may want to ask about how your child seems in social situations or how he or she interacts with other students. You could also ask about mood and emotional concerns. If your child is in high school, you will also want to focus particularly on how you can help him or her prepare the best for college or for the next step in life.