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Things I Learned from my Son’s PTMS (Parent Teachers Meetings)

1. While it’s lovely to soak up compliments about your child’s progress and behaviour, you should actively expect to be told about the areas that they need to work on too. PTMs or Parent teacher meetings are a pointless exercise if your child’s teacher doesn’t d iscuss the full picture. Matters such as low-level careless behaviour or slight concerns over progress are often raised at PTMs, so don’t take comments such as, ‘He needs to work on his proof reading skills,’ as a criticism; rather, that the teacher has identified an area for improvement.

2. It is reasonable to expect that you won’t be told of a serious issue out of the blue at a parent-teacher meeting. These issues should not be left until parents’ evening, but raised after school, or even in a pre-arranged meeting.

3. It is bound to be upsetting to hear anything negative about your child. You should never feel like you’re being told off, or that the teacher thinks it’s your fault. This is your opportunity to put forward your views, and work out a plan with the teacher for moving on.

4. Listen impartially to what the teacher is saying: don’t automatically assume the worst of your child, or jump too quickly to defend them. Use the chance to build a fuller picture of the problem. You might want to ask questions such as:
• How long has the problem been going on for?
• What has the teacher tried so far to help resolve the problem?
• What can the teacher suggest to help your child overcome the issue going forward?
• What can you do at home to help?
• How can you be kept informed about your child’s progress?

5. If you’re too stunned to respond properly at the time, it’s best to go away and digest what has been said. You can then request a follow-up appointment with the teacher to continue the discussion. This also applies if you’re not satisfied that you’ve tackled the issue within the parents’ meeting time slot.

6. Try to keep conversations with your child positive: mention the great things the teacher said about them, as well as the areas for improvement. A plan should have been made for going forward, and maybe targets given, so make sure your child know that you’re all working towards the same goal. If your child is upset, they will need reassurance that everyone wants the best for them.

7. You might want to discuss the problem with your child and come up with strategies for tackling it at home: for example, if handwriting is an issue, doing five minutes of practice each evening. Or, focusing on doing the daily homework as tidy as possible.

8. Don’t punish your child for what has been said at the PTM: There are occasions when they need to know that you’re disappointed and their behaviour is not acceptable, but if an issue has been dealt with at school, you don’t need to repeat the feedback at home.

9. Your child’s teacher should never raise an issue without suggesting how it can be tackled. There are various ways in which this might happen, such as by using a home-school book to keep each other up to date; giving extra work or support to help your child catch up; arranging further meetings with your child’s teacher to keep track of their progress or using a reward scheme to encourage change.

10. Sometimes, you might feel that your child’s issues are the result of poor teaching, or a personality clash between child and teacher. This is a very sensitive issue, but it can happen. The best policy is to raise the matter with the head teacher or Principal. Although the head will want to protect their staff, they should be committed to resolving issues.

11. Find out if your child is acting on feedback. Find a teacher comment on a piece of marked work and discuss this with your child. Does your child understand the feedback? Is there any evidence they have acted on it in their next piece of work? Promote the habit of doing corrections.
Hope these tips will help all parents. I would love to hear your feedback. Share what works best for you and your child.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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