How to Prepare for the Parent/Teacher Interview

We all expect our teachers to prepare for our parent/teacher interviews, but parents often don’t think about these meetings. If you go in unprepared, you may miss out on a vital opportunity to discuss your child’s progress and make a plan for the rest of the semester which would help your child to succeed.
Most parents see these interviews as a chore, and often get caught off guard when the feedback isn’t positive. When this happens, they tend to get defensive and want to get it over with as soon as possible. This means they miss out a chance to ask questions about their child’s progress and how any issues can be resolved. Working together with teachers is the best way to ensure that your child gets the help they need.
Be Prepared
Before your meeting, speak with your child about their progress. Ask them what their teacher has said to them and what their test scores have been like. Knowing what to expect will prepare you and will mean no nasty surprises.
Write out a list of questions you could potentially ask your teachers (some are listed below) and always try to find solutions to any problems the teacher may point out.
Don’t get Defensive
Teachers are trained professionals who get to see your children in a context that you don’t. They get to see them in class and they also get to see how they interact with other children. They will probably address both behavioral and academic issues.
Listen carefully and be respectful of their opinion even if it is upsetting to you. Ask them how to overcome any obstacles, what you can do at home to help and how you can work together as a team to improve behavior and marks.
Set realistic goals for your child that you can both work towards achieving. Ask for a follow up meeting in a month’s time so you can check progress and update your strategy.
Remember that teachers want your input and value your opinion. Their job is easier if you can work as a team so that what is happening at school is reinforced at home. They want your child to succeed as much as you do and they are open to ideas and goals that will help your child to learn.
Some Questions to Consider
1. How can I help you to help my child?
2. What goals can we set for the next month?
3. How can I support my child in achieving these goals?
4. What is my child’s learning style and how can I use this to help them study?
5. What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
6. What executive functions does my child need to improve?
7. How can I help develop these executive functions at home?
8. How can I track my child’s progress?
9. How can we communicate effectively with each other?
10. How can I help you in the classroom?
11. Will my child benefit from a one-on-one tutor?

How Much Does Tutoring Cost?

This time of year when someone calls our office, the first question asked, in no uncertain terms, is “how much does it cost?”

It’s a fair question. When I buy something, I want to know how much it’s going to cost. If I’m buying gas for my car, I’m looking for the station with the lowest price. When I’m in the supermarket, my husband tells me what brand of cookies to buy (and which coupon to use) because it’s the lowest price. Hey, I go to my warehouse store because I can get lunch for under $3.00.

When buying something personal, which needs to last longer, we need to look beyond price. John Glenn used to say when asked the question, “When you were sitting in that capsule listening to the count-down, how did you feel?” He would answer, “I felt exactly how you would feel if you were getting ready to launch and knew you were sitting on top of two million parts — all built by the lowest bidder on a government contract.”

That may be a little extreme but when you’re looking for a tutor for your child, you need to think about what your needs are and what you want your results to be. Do you want your child to be ahead of the curve? Has it reached the point where you physically (and mentally) can’t help with homework? Does your child’s learning style require a different approach to homework?

The simple answer to “how much?” is “it depends!”

Some people don’t want to pay for something that they think should be free! School is free. Teachers should help my child for free! Others think that a tutor is the same thing as a babysitter and that it should be $10 or $15/hour.

When considering a tutor, price isn’t everything. You want service, you want expertise and you want results! If your high school age neighbor is helping your elementary school student with math, you can probably get away with $10 plus lunch but if you’ve got a $10,000 scholarship riding on an SAT score, you should look for someone with more experience and you should expect better results. Also, what other things are you looking for in a tutor? If you want the convenience and dependability of a concierge tutoring service that always has the right kind of tutor at your fingertips and professionally matches your child to the right type of tutor for his/her specific needs, you will pay more than that neighbor is asking.

My lawyer charges $250/hour. My cleaning services charges $90/week, my husband’s personal trainers charge $60/hour for a one-on-one session and the massage you need after the workout costs $49/hour/plus tip! I pay $40 for 1/2 hour voice lessons for my daughter, and I spend about $400/month on my son’s basketball! When you put the value of what you’re spending your money on in perspective, tutoring is actually a steal!

The bottom line is: know what you’re buying! If you’re not sure what you need, do some research. Phone calls and web searches are free and I’ve never met a teacher or guidance counsellor who wouldn’t meet with a parent (unless you overstay your welcome).

Tutor Doctor will meet with you to discuss your needs, and we provide the service and expertise that will yield results at a competitive rate that won’t send your budget to the moon! Most of our tutoring costs between $46-$60/hour, which is comparable to what most private tutors are charging now. And, with Tutor Doctor you get the assurance of knowing that your tutor has been hand-picked for your child by professionals who have been doing this for years with exceptional success rates! Now that’s priceless!

Tutors: How Every Student Can Benefit

While poor test scores and bad grades are an obvious indicator that your student needs help, there are many other instances in which a tutor can really help your child to learn the skills they need to be confident, independent, successful learners.

The most important factor in determining whether your student could benefit from a tutor is communication; speak with them about the kinds of help a tutor can offer and speak with your child’s teacher too.

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Studies show Many Benefits of Parental Involvement

We get it; you are so busy with work and family life that it really is difficult to find the time to get involved with school activities too. However, research shows that the benefits of parental involvement in education are legion. According to one study (Henderson and Berla, 1994), parental involvement was the most accurate predictor of student achievement winning out over social status and income.

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Recognizing Video Gaming Addiction

Most kids enjoy playing video and computer games and can be at it for hours or days at a time; especially when they have new games they want to master. For some, the camaraderie and communities that online gaming worlds offer fulfill an important social role in their lives. While many teens can play a couple of hours of games a week and successfully balance school, social time and family, for others it can be a compulsion that prevents development in essential areas. The big questions is… when is it too much?

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How to Resolve Teacher-Student Disputes

It’s that time of the year again when the teacher-parent conference rounds may have some of you on edge. If your student isn’t getting on with their educator, you may be tempted to discuss your concerns with the teacher, but being confrontational during your meeting may actually make the situation worse. Author of “I Hate School: How To Help Your Child Love Learning,” Cynthia Ulrich Tobias, interviewed 100 educators to get their take on the best way to resolve tensions. We share some of her insights here.

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