Thursday, July 14, 2011

Parent-Teacher Interview Tips

To a teacher in the first year on the job, few things are as scary as speaking to The Parents. Some will tell you their child is not stimulated enough in class. Some will say the work is too hard. There should be less homework. More homework. Some want to know whether Johnny behaves at school, others whether he's made friends, surprisingly few ask about the actual learning.

It all depends on the type of parents you're dealing with. Here are some useful definitions to help you make sense of it all:
  • Helicopter Parents are over-involved parents who hover over their children offering to help you with every aspect of teaching their offspring.
  • Lawnmower Parents run ahead of the children, smoothing away obstacles in their path and sometimes even doing their homework.
  • Tiger Parents pressure their children into overachieving, sometimes at the expense of social and physical development.
  • Grasshopper Parents think there are things more important than working hard at school: sports, parties, holidays, family reunions, watching TV....
  • Vacation Parents steer away from the responsibility of parenting trusting somebody else will do it for them.
  • Groupie Parents treat their children like rock stars.
  • iParents try too hard to be cool.
Determine the parents' priorities and address their concerns according to the type of parents they represent. Even if you're a holistic thinker, add a few details to demonstrate how well you know the child. If you're an analytic, it may help your confidence to compose a list of salient points about each child, something the parents can take away with them from the interview.

Best of all, you can impress the parents - as well as help the student - by mentioning their learning style. "Annie benefits from doing her homework in the lounge on the floor," or "Ben needs to chew on something, physically, in order to chew on a complex homework problem" is exactly the type of thing most parents need to hear.

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