It’s back-to-school time, which means new teachers for most students and
families. It’s easy to find information online supporting teacher-student interaction and family-student interaction, but not much is available on the third side of the triangle, the teacher-family interaction. Students are best supported when families and teachers are working together as a team. Part of building that team is families understanding how a teacher teaches, from standards, curriculum, and assessments to grading, classroom management, and social and emotional learning.

TeachThought, a blog dedicated to supporting teachers in providing students
a 21st century education, has created a list of 20 important questions parents should ask teachers. The questions dig deep into the expertise of teachers to help parents understand what teachers really do in the classroom, how students learn, and what families can do to support their child. For example:

  • How will you respond if or when my child struggles in class?
  • What are the most important and complex ideas my child needs to understand by the end of the year?
  • How is critical thinking used on a daily basis in your classroom?
  • What can I do to meaningfully support literacy in my home?
  • What kinds of questions do you suggest that I ask my children on a daily basis about your class?
  • How exactly is learning personalized in your classroom? In the school?
  • What am I not asking but should be?

Be sure to check out the article for all 20 questions, or print out their handy graphic to take with you. While you certainly can’t get to all 20 questions at Open House or during a parent-teacher conference, consider sharing the list with your child’s teacher and asking if there is a good time for the two of you to talk about them. The time to start building the teacher-family team is now, and this list of questions will help you be a better advocate for your child.

Photo courtesy Innovation_School under Creative Commons License.