As the first term of 2016 nears to an end, parent teacher interviews begin to takeplace. Whatcan sometimes be an overwhelming, academic version of musical chairs can also be incredibly informative. The outcomes can be disheartening to some student, encouraging to others, and hopefully motivating to all. However, as we all know, teachers are busy people. Therefore, the time you spend speaking to each of your childs educators tends to be limited to only five to ten minutes. Here are our tips on how to get the most out of every second of your parent-teacher interviews.

1. Be prepared.

First things first, speak to your child before the interviews! Make sure you are aware of their feelings toward each subject and how they are currently tracking in class. If they are having any problems, note them down. Then, discuss and solidify your childs individual goals as well as your own expectations. Keep a record of them to take with you to the interviews so that you can discuss with the teacher.

2. Listen, discuss and plan.

At the interview listen carefully as the teacher summarizes your childs progress thus far, for example citing test results and class behaviour, and make a note of any issues you may flag. When the teacher is finished, take centre stage and discuss everything on your sheet. The key word here is *discuss*. Teachers and parents have the common goal to assist the child involved in reaching their optimal potential, so be rational and reasonable when discussing desired results. Include your child in the discussion too, their opinion is obviously very important. As a group, make a plan of how your child can meet these goals in class and at home. The aim is for everyone involved to walk away on the same page so to speak, with clear and concise targets to meet in mind. Keep a printed copy of the goals and expectations agreed upon, to refer to in the future.

 3. Be a partner with your childs educators.

Regular communication between teacher and parent undoubtedly benefits everyone. Simply emailing weekly or speaking face-to-face for five minutes after school, can make a world of difference. If your child is having trouble with homework, or if they require additional work, communicate this, or any concerns, to the teacher to ensure everyone reaches your collective goal.

Although commonly categorized as a negative experience, parent-teacher interviews can, in fact, be very useful for teachers, parents and students when conducted in a positive, reflective and goal-oriented way.