Saturday, 29 March 2014

Make PTMs Work For You

Ah PTMs- I've been at both ends of the table, and while parents may feel nervous speaking to their child's teacher, it's equally tense for the teacher as well. Parents feel anxious not only about the report card that would be handed to them but also about the other possible complaints the teacher might make. Similarly, the teacher is not sure what to expect from the parents, as some of them become pretty aggressive when it comes to their child whilst others just listen with no comprehension of what the teacher is saying.

I guess what I'm saying is that a parent teacher meeting is a wonderful opportunity for the chief caregivers in your child's life to come together and team up for a mutual goal that is the child's progress and success, but it has to be done right. No matter how many I attend, till this day I have this little knot in my stomach even when I know my child has fared well. The reality is that we parents will always have a bias in favor of our kids, it's just nature. So how can you maximize the little time you have to best discuss the issues that are in your mind during parent teacher meetings?

1. Mutual respect: I've seen parents totally lose it over the slightest hint of criticism on the part of the teacher. I can not stress enough that parents need to accept that the teacher is on their side and that any critiques she offers is for the long term benefit of the child. When this concept is clear, parents need to keep their cool and ask themselves honestly if the what the teacher is saying holds any merit. Same goes for the teacher, there is no need to tolerate rude behavior though this is rare. And avoid apologetic comments. Instead be proactive and assertive. Striking the right balance is the key.

2. Make a list before hand: No matter how great a memory you have, chances are you may forget something you wanted to discuss. I have always had some issues with the teaching methods and disciplinary issues and hosts of other problems that I have wanted to discuss with the teacher, only to come home and realize that I forgot.

3. Talk to your child: You may not realize this but now would be a good time to really sit your child down and have that heart to heart. He may be facing so much tension at school like bullying or the fact that he can't see the board. Teamed with the teacher you can make a tonne of difference to the quality of your child's life.

4. Let the teacher talk: When you first sit down on those chairs, the teacher will greet you and then she'll hand you the envelope. At this point I suggest to keep quiet and let her talk about the things she wants to which will begin with some positives, a "but" and then some negatives. Talk out strategies to resolve those negatives and appreciate the good things before moving on to your list so that all of her issues are out of the way. 

5. Following through: Often, we resolve to carry out certain steps at home for improvement of the child, and maybe the teacher also tells you about some things she plans to do, but it is not followed through, this is such a waste of mutual understanding and time. And it robs your child of possibly improving. Make sure you hold up your end of the bargain and ask your child if the teacher kept her word as well.

6. Summing up: Before leaving revise the points on which both of you have decided to act on, and part on a pleasant and respectful note. Endeavor to stay in touch through the daily diary to assess the progress of your child.

Parent teacher meetings can be a powerful tool to empower your child with the full support of yourself and the teacher. It will bring out the optimum talent and capabilities of your child, and you never know, you can be pleasantly surprised.

Special Note: It's Autism Awareness Day on the 2nd of April and we have a surprise eye opening feature planned for that day right here on UAE Mums. T-2 days and counting......


  1. I always learn something new from your posts. Looking forward to the next one.

  2. I'm glad you posted on this issue. Have a ptm coming up this weekend.

  3. How nice, wish you the best of luck and all the best for your child.