The time allotted to meet your child’s teacher for the first time is short, and you want to make it count. As a former principal, I know how important this first interaction is for both your child and their teachers. It gives you a vital glimpse of where your child will be spending their school days and who will be guiding them during that time.

Here are some great get-to-know-you questions for their teacher:

  • How will you respond if or when my child struggles in class?

  • What are the most important and complex (content-related) ideas my child needs to understand by the end of the year?

  • What kinds of questions do you suggest that I ask my children on a daily basis about your class?

  • Is there technology you’d recommend that can help support my child in self-directed learning?

  • What are the most common barriers you see to academic progress in your classroom?

Remember, Meet the Teacher is as much a get-to-know-you session for you with the teacher as it is for the teacher with you. It’s also a crazy time for teachers who are meeting as many as 25 to 30 students and their parents for the first time.

Here are our don’ts for that day:

  • Keep your time with the teacher short. Many parents need to interact with him or her. For highly personal or private information, schedule a conference or send an email.

  • Don’t expect the teacher to remember everything you’ve told them at that event. Follow up with an email that references the conversation and tells you how nice it was to meet that teacher and how excited you are for the year.

  • If your child has some special needs or there is something you want the teacher to know about your family or your child’s learning style, follow that up in an email.

  • Don’t keep information from a teacher. A study two years ago found that teachers do want to know about changes in the family or mental health issues, not just learning differences.