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Executive Director, Founder of Arts & Learning Conservatory

These 19 major questions are

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These 19 major questions are really very good. These are the best questions that a intelligent & caring parents would love to get answer. Finding time to connect with your child's teacher can be difficult, but questions like these will let a teacher know that you are on top of things.

Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Hi Mathew- I agree- if you

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Hi Mathew-

I agree- if you come to a teacher with all of these questions and approach it in the wrong way, you could get a less than helpful response, souring a new relationship rather than developing one that shows your involvement with your child and school.

Like most things in life, it's about the timing and delivery, and caution is always better than confrontation.

I wonder at the tone and

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I wonder at the tone and delivery of these questions. They can easily be heard in an attacking tone of voice which will do nothing to help create the sense of community and positive attitude towards togetherness that is beneficial. It is not a good idea to put your child's teacher on the defensive off the bat.

I found these questions

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I found these questions useful to ask oneself as a teacher. A colleague in teacher education will also use some of these questions with her apprentice teachers.

Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

I love the list of questions,

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I love the list of questions, but we need to find a good forum in which to ask them. The hecticness at back to school night, particularly, may not be the best time to bring these things up, even if many parents want to know the answers.

Also, I think you have to ask the questions is a way that makes you look like a classroom partner, not a critic. Teachers often feel overwhelmed at the beginning of the year, and from a parent's point of view, the last thing I want them to think of me at first blush is that I'm "one of those parents" or a "helicopter parent" even if my intent is to be involved, understand their philosophy and goals for the students during the year, and find ways to help. On back to school night in particular, I try to make sure each teacher knows who I am, who my child is, and that I am looking for ways to help make his or her job as easy as possible, and isn't complicated any more than necessary by my kids in particular.

So I guess my question to the group is- How and when do we ask these questions in a way that promotes sharing and communication, and not a cross examination or criitic mode that might put teachers on edge?

Third grade teacher, American School in Japan

Since I just completed a full

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Since I just completed a full day of conferences where I talk to each parent for fifteen minutes, I am wondering about the feasibility of this question list. Responsible teachers try to post up the answers to these questions on blogs or websites so they don't have to have the same generic conversation twenty times in a row. In my experience most parents want to know if their child is socially and emotionally adjusted to school. They want to know if their child is significantly struggling in a specific area of study. I believe conversations with parents should be individualized. They mostly want to see that you know their child and you care. In the modern age, we often loose the child behind "the curriculum."

As much as I appreciate the

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As much as I appreciate the exhaustive list of questions, I'm curious as to how a parent with limited English language proficiency, limited education or lack of understanding of the educational system is supposed to ask these questions and understand the answers?

As someone who has sat with parents who don't speak english or don't have but a 3rd grade education themselves (if they are educated at all) I don't know how I would translate these questions let alone the answer to several of these questions.

I think these questions are great. But I also think that these aren't questions that would resonate with parents who aren't of a certain level of education.

I'm concerned about the assumptions these questions make about the parents making them. As well as the teachers being asked.

Great list, especially now

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Great list, especially now that I have my son in my own geography class. After reading the article, I asked myself some of these questions and responded rather incoherently. This would be a great list to revisit when I am retooling over the summer. Imagine if teacher evaluations were formed around these questions?

middle school math teacher in Ohio - I blog at www.teach4theheart.com

These are some great

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These are some great questions to get conversations going. I really like #18 in particular.

But I do notice that a lot of these questions are more about what the teacher is doing in the classroom instead of what the parent is doing at home. I think (and I can tell you think too) that parents should be very involved in their kids' education. And just making sure the teacher is doing a good job isn't enough. I think more questions along the lines of #8 can really help parents and teachers develop a great dialogue and come up with some great solutions.

Education Consultant

It is so important to open up

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It is so important to open up a dialogue between parent and teacher. Thanks for this great list. As a teacher, I tried to communicate with parents as much as possible in order to keep them updated and informed. Unfortunately, with so many students (I was a K-6 music teacher), it was hard maintain this type of one-sided conversation. I would love it if more parents asked questions, inquired about the curriculum, and wanted to find out ways to extend the learning at home.

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