The start of another school year means that back-to-school night is just around the corner. Back-to-school night can be an excellent time for parents to connect with teachers, talk with other parents, and become more familiar with where their children will spend most of their upcoming days. Teacher Paulette Chaffee says parents can draw a lot from their back-to-school night if they ask the right questions.
- When My Child Takes Your Class, What Questions Should I Ask Them About Your Course and What They are Learning?
It is common for a parent to struggle with being either too involved or not involved enough in their child’s life. A parent should be involved in a child’s academic journey in a healthy way and starting with advice from a teacher is one way to do so. This way, parents avoid shooting in the dark with irrelevant questions when trying to engage in conversation with a child about school. A teacher might suggest asking about what experiments or activities the class is currently doing, how they feel about it, what projects or daily to-dos are taking place, and who they work with in class.
- When You See a Student Struggling Academically, What Steps Do You Take?
Parents should strive to be support systems for their child’s academic career. Knowing how a teacher will help when a child starts to find school too challenging and what steps a parent can take is a crucial piece of that support. Communicating with a teacher and understanding what steps will occur when a child needs academic aid allows a parent to avoid providing help when it is too late, such as only discovering a student is failing a class during the last week of school.
- How Will My Child’s Learning Connect to the Real World?
When homework time comes around, how many times have parents heard their children ask if what they are doing in school is even necessary for real life? Students often struggle to find the connection between what they are learning in school and how assignments relate to life outside of classroom walls. By gaining a teacher’s perspective on the matter, parents can be prepared to share why their lessons are relevant to the real world. A parent can then find connections to excite their child about learning and make connections in other personal interests like sports or art.
- How Will You Assess My Child’s Learning?
Such a question can help a parent understand how a child will be graded and what skills will be focused on for assessments. The purpose of evaluations is to provide support and information about a student’s development in school. However, how a teacher assesses students reveals what type of learning styles a classroom is structured to cater to and how a parent can help keep students engaged with their learning. For example, if a child flourishes in a classroom where discussion participation is a part of the overall assessment, but a new teacher weighs writing over discussion participation, a parent is prepared to find creative and fun ways to help build a child’s writing skills for that class.
About Paulette Chaffee
Paulette Chaffee is a teacher, speech therapist, and attorney deeply involved in the Fullerton community. As an educator and member of various non-profit boards, her focus has always been on providing children with the highest quality education. Ms. Chaffee holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands, a California Lifetime Teaching Credential, and is admitted to the California Bar.