When I was a kid, I dreaded parents evenings.
As a parent my feelings haven't changed much at all.
Don't get me wrong. I haven't heard any stories of how my little boy is the class terror, bringing missery and havoc to teachers and classmates, but there's just some sense of trepidation before I make the short journey to the school and get set to go face to face.
My biggest concern is that I get the best out of the meetings, which are ususally very short, so that I can do the best job for my son.
I say they're short but sometimes they seem to go on for ever.
Over time I've come to the realisation that it's all about preparation, so I now go in with a list of written questions. I don't normally get the list out because by writting them down I find they're far easier to recall from memory. In fact, if I prepare a mind map, I can normally visualise the picture of the map and all the areas I want to discuss branching off from each main theme.
The main themes are normally something like this...
Academic performance, with focus on English, Maths and Sciences, but covering other subjects too
Social skills, including confidence and class/ friend/ teacher interaction
Sport and activities, where I want to know about his level of participation and team skills
Artistic activities, in music, dance and performing arts as well as craft and art
Overall demeanor, how happy is he? Is he interested, participative, keen to learn and well behaved?
What are his strengths and where does he need to focus more to improve?
I also make a point of asking to see examples of his work and I seek advice on what I can do as his Dad to help in his development.
With this approach I find I get a well rounded view of my son's school life, and I'm able to better focus mine and mum's support in his ongoing development.
I'm not saying mine is the best approach, but I do find it helps me to get the most out of the meetings, build a healthy relationship between me and his teachers and help him at home.
In short, it works for me.
Let me know what works for you.