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It’s easy for parents to talk to teachers when their children are doing well in school. However, it seems to become much more difficult when a child brings home a bad grade, gets suspended, or gets into trouble during the school day. If your child has a problem at school, you shouldn’t hesitate to talk to the teacher or administrator. You need solutions, and the best way to get them is for you and the teacher or administrator to work together.

When Meeting with teachers, the National PTA offers the following suggestions.

  • Talk to your child before you go. Ask what issues he’d like you to address, or explain why you’re going and get his feedback.

  • Prepare questions in advance to help use your time wisely. You’ll probably want to know things like how well your child gets along with others, and how he participates in class.

  • Dress appropriately. A power suit might send the message that you want to control the teacher, not work with her. Shorts and a ratty T-shirt could imply that you aren’t serious about the meeting. Casual workplace attire is best.

  • Be on time. The teacher probably has meetings before and after yours.

  • Stay calm even if you’re nervous about your child or angry about something that happened during class.

  • Be forthcoming about what’s happening at home that could affect your child at school. Let the teacher know about any medical conditions, emotional difficulties, or sensitive information.

  • Be prepared to talk honestly about your child.

  • Make a follow-up plan. If you’re meeting with the teacher to solve a problem, ask for specific suggestions on how to help at home.

  • Don’t stay past the scheduled meeting time. If you have concerns that you weren’t able to address during the conference, schedule a follow-up meeting.

  • If you’re unsatisfied with the meeting, tell the teacher you’d like to meet again with her and her immediate supervisor. If you’d rather meet with her supervisor alone, let her know that’s what you plan to do.

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