Back to School Questions to Ask Your Teacher

You’ve bought the pencils, the backpack, the graphing calculator and the deluxe crayon box with the built-in sharpener.  Your kids are ready to go back to school – but are you?  These back to school questions will ensure you know what to expect from your child’s teacher.

5 Back to School Questions for the Teacher

Many factors play a role in your child’s education.  Your child is responsible for being an active listener and engaging in the learning process.  As the parent/guardian, you are responsible for supporting your child’s progress and encouraging learning at home.  The teacher is responsible for creating a nurturing learning environment to help your child succeed at school.

Together, you are a team – you, your child, and the teacher.  It is important that you all know the rules and how to play the game.  Get the back to school season off to a great start with these simple questions for your child’s teacher:

1.     What is the best way to contact you – phone, text, email?

If your child starts to struggle or has a question on homework, it is important that you understand how to reach the teacher quickly.  Also, ask if the teacher (or class) has a website.  Homework assignments may be posted online for convenience.

Bottom line – do not abuse your privilege to speak directly with the teacher.  In order to provide a great educational experience, teachers need to relax, too.  Keep calls and emails specific and to the point as a sign of respect.

2.     How can I best support my child’s education at home?

Learning does not stop at the end of the school day.  It continues at home, at softball practice, and in the dance studio.  By asking this question, you are ensuring consistency for your child.  This will relieve stress and create a cohesive learning process.

Your teacher may simply say, “Do the homework and read 20 minutes every night.”  But don’t stop there.  Ask detailed questions, such as, “Are there specific questions I should be asking my child each night?  How much time should I spend helping with homework?  Any suggestions on what we should read?”  The more you know, the better.

3.     What major concepts should my child know by the end of the year?  What big projects will be assigned this year?

No matter what grade your child is in or what classes he/she is taking, there is a benchmark for his/her learning.  A chemistry student may be expected to memorize the Periodic Table before the midterm.  An 8th grader may have to present a persuasive speech in the spring.  If you know what is on the horizon, you can work backwards and make time to prepare.

4.     What is your role in the classroom if a child struggles socially?

Every teacher has a different technique for classroom management.  Some teachers may let students resolve their own problems, whereas other teachers may become so involved they inadvertently take away from the experience of the other students.  Your teacher’s response will say a lot about his/her personality and what to expect throughout the year.

If you are already aware that your child struggles socially, be upfront and honest with the teacher.  Give specific examples of the struggles (i.e. peer pressure, bullying, anxiety) and how your child reacts.  A teacher who is made aware of a situation has the tools to stop a situation before it even starts.

5.     What is your view on homework?

Much like classroom management, teachers view homework differently, too.  To some, it’s just busywork.  For others, homework is a means of assessment.  Or, it’s an extension of the classroom and provides opportunities for practice.  Ask for an estimate of how much time your child should spend on homework each night.  Some students will naturally take more time than others to complete an assignment.  But if your child is spending two hours on a twenty minute assignment, there may be some cause for concern.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!

You can have the best school year ever by getting involved in your child’s education.  Promise yourself you won’t sit on the sidelines this season.  Learning is not a spectator sport.  By asking your child’s teacher these back to school questions, you are well on your way to a successful school year!

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About the Author

Dave Hoffman