Parent-Teacher Interview Tips

The Parent-teacher Interview

How to make the most of your 10 minutes with your child’s teacher

Jacqueline Kovacs

Want some insight into your child from the adult who spends most weekdays with him? Well, you’ve got 10 minutes.

That’s the mixed blessing of parent-teacher interviews: They’re a fabulous opportunity to learn about your child’s life at school, how he’s faring, where he needs to improve, how you can help — but that’s a lot of turf to cover in the few minutes parents are typically allotted. You need to come prepared. Here are some tips on how to do just that.


Make a list of questions The Oxford Learning Centre suggests your questions be specific and organized in order of importance. For example:

• Do you have any concerns about my child’s skill level?
• Does my child have difficulty listening to or following instructions?
• Does my child find it challenging to stay on task?
• Does my child have difficulty organizing his notes, class work, stories and so on?
• Does my child have friends and get along with his classmates?

Talk to your child Figure out your focus by finding out what your child most enjoys — and dislikes — about going to school.

Consider your concerns Does your child seem to have a lot of homework? Does she avoid reading or get frustrated with science?

Be prepared to share Is your family dealing with a stressful situation, such as a divorce, a serious illness or a death? That stress may be having an impact on your child’s learning and behaviour at school — something her teacher should know about.


State your purpose At the beginning of the interview, let the teacher know what it is you really want to find out, for example, “I would like to discuss how my son is progressing in reading.”

Stay on track — politely Losing the focus on your child? Be prepared to steer things back on course with a gentle statement like “I’d like to hear about that another time, but right now, I’d like to discuss my child’s work.”

Stay calm As the British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) advises parents: “Remember, both of you are working toward the same goals.”


Keep it friendly End on a positive note, says the BCCPAC. Plan to keep in touch and follow up.

Talk to your child Let him know what you discussed and what plans you and the teacher made to support and enhance his learning.

Follow through Stay involved with your child’s learning and use your child’s agenda to keep in touch with his teacher.

Originally published in Today’s Parent, October 2009

Bucket List for Kids

The Kid’s Bucket List


Things every child should have the chance to do before he/she grows up

1. Indulge in an unexpected treat like going out for dessert in your pyjamas

2. Play road hockey

3. Get to know a baby

4. Give something to charity

5. Put on a show for your parents

6. Play with mom’s makeup

7. Throw a snowball
• Sometimes the white stuff just begs to be hurled — at a tree or a wall, of course, not a person!

8. Stay up until midnight

9. Buy something with your own money

10. Teach a younger kid how to do something cool

11. Have a crush

12. Clean your room without being asked

13. Learn how to swim, bike and skate

14. Spend a school day playing hooky with mom or dad
• Explore the local museum, catch a movie or just hang out together.

15. Write a thank-you card

16. Say “I’m sorry” and mean it

17. Cut your dolls hair (or your own)

18. Read a classic kids’ book
• Check out Today’s Parent’s age-by-age reading guide

19. Have a sleepover with Grandma or another relative (without mom or dad around)

20. Cook something by yourself
• Try these kid-friendly recipes from Today’s Parent: Baked Bean Wrap; Four-Square Pizza; David’s Mother’s 5-Minute Tomato Sauce; Banana Dog.

21. Stand right up front to watch a parade

22. Go camping (or at least sleep outdoors in a tent)

23. Have a really good friend

24. Get super close to an animal that isn’t the family pet
• Catch a frog at the cottage.
• Pet a snake. (Where? Check
• Swim with sea lions. (Where? Check

25. Tell a joke
• For little kids, try Laugh with Chirp by Bob Kain.
• For big kids, try Jokelopedia by Ilana Weitzman.


Originally published in Today’s Parent, October 2009

If I were you I would read…..

As you know, I absolutely love books. Sometimes I even read books for adults 🙂 . I would like to give you some suggestions for great children’s books you might want to read. I have read all of these. (Click on the book covers to find out more!)

Among the Hidden - by Margaret Pearson Haddix



Dangerous Skies - by Suzanne Staples

Danny the Champion of the World - by Roald Dahl




Missing - by Catherine MacPhail

Raider - by Susan Gates

The Thief Lord - by Cornelia Funke

Walk Two Moons - by Sharon Creech

Canada in My Pocket

Michael Mitchell

Michael Mitchell is a Canadian musician who writes great children’s songs about Canada. He performed at QE a few years ago – how many of you remember that (or were there)?? Here is a link to his website, where you can find out more information about him. He also has some games, and a place where you can write to him. Enjoy!

The Mathemagician’s Seven Spells

The great spell has to be broken! It has seven parts. Two children, Anna and David, must break it, but you can help…
The Mathemagician stands by his immense cauldron, flames dancing round. He stares hard at the cauldron and then at the two children.
mathemagician and his cauldron
Tell me the next two numbers in each of these seven minor spells, chanted the Mathemagician, and the great spell will crumble away! Watch the smoke to see the spells.
Spell the first: sequence: 1, 2, 4, 8, ?, ?
Spell the second: sequence: 6, 13, 20, 27, ?, ?
Spell the third: sequence: 127, 63, 31, 15, ?, ?
Spell the fourth: sequence: 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, ?, ?
Spell the fifth: sequence: 2, 3, 6, 11, 18, ?, ?
Spell the sixth: sequence: 1, 8, 27, 64, ?, ?
Spell the seventh: sequence: 216, 168, 126, 90, 60, 36, ?, ?
Anna and David managed to break the spell, did you?

Grade 5 Math Problem of the Day

How many addition signs should be put between digits of the number 987654321 and where should we put them to get a total of 99?

Right now, Mrs. Skye is reading….