What Teachers Want To Hear From A Parent

This summer I will be doing home visits for the incoming freshmen. Our school is starting something new, where certain teachers are dedicated to be sponsors of the freshman class. I like to think of us as 'freshman mommas'. We will be doing home visits at the beginning of the year, homerooms with freshmen only, class sponsors for freshman activities, and forming a PLC just for freshmen. The PLC's will meet once a week to discuss any needed interventions, to collaborate, to work together, etc. We basically want a built-in support system for students new to high school.

For our home visits, we are creating gift bags for each student. The bags contain a school planner (required for 6th-8th graders), folder, pencil, pen, flash drive, school supply lists, standardized testing schedule, and various other school information.

These are all great ideas. My question is, as one of the [math] teachers participating in the home visits, what kind of questions should I ask parents? I expect to learn a huge amount just by meeting the family and seeing what home life is like. But this is a great chance to speak one-on-one with the parent with no underlying problem to discuss.

I want to do my best from the very beginning to help each student do their best.

What kind of questions should I be asking?

Here's what I have thought of or found so far.

What is the best way to contact you? What information/How often do you expect to hear from me?

What do you think your child is best at in school?

What does your child find difficult?

Does your child like math? Why or why not?

Do you use math at work a lot (are you an accountant, engineer, etc)? Would you be willing to visit our classroom and talk to the students?

Do you expect any issues for your child at school? What is the best way to deal with those issues?

What can teachers do to help your child learn best?

What is the most important thing I need to know about your child?

Please add your questions or tell me which of mine suck in the comments below.

@sheasmith What does your child like to do outside of school? (Sports, clubs,. church, hobbies...)

@CoachColeman What kind of technology is available to your child? Do you know how to use it?


  1. What an awesome opportunity - meeting with parents & students in their personal environment! Quite different from the education arena.

    You have a great list of questions to ask. The only one I would add is: what types of actvities (hobbies, sports, games) does your child enjoy? Understanding what motivates or engages students outside the classroom can often pay dividends inside the classrom. It helps tie instruction or connect the curriculum to things the student knows and enjoys. That is a crucial component of learning, IMHO.

  2. Here is a "homework" assignment I give the kids and parents on the first day of school.


    You questions above are very "schooly." F2F a parent or a kid who is meeting you for the first time will give you the packaged answer that they think they are supposed to give you. Having them write the answer, or record it, with you infrint of them, and separate from one another(that's key), will result in answers that are more honest.

    Top of my head here...
    You are going to learn about them what they want you to think about their family, not necessarily what their family life is actually like. So what are the questions you can ask to get behind the facade they are going to put up...

    Have the kid go and get the most important thing in their room, when they are getting it, ask parent what is the most difficult/or greatest joy about having a 12 year old.

    What kid comes back with tells you alot about kid. Parent reaction to what kid brings back tells you about parent. Parent's answer while kid is getting thing tells you alot about relationship with kid, kid's reaction to what parent was saying adds to it.

    Maybe also add in a question about goals for the year--parent's and kid's.

    What a great program!

  3. Ahhh...big error above...meant to say giving them questions to have them answer when you are not in front of them, and they are not together would lead to more honest answers...just trust me on that one ;)

    There are things that both kid and parent are not going to want to say in front of one another!

  4. Paul,
    I love how your thinking is always the opposite of mine. So interesting.

    Should my questions above be asked at all? Are they the ones I should have parents/students fill out on paper?

    I like your million words idea and I plan on using it along with the questions from above.

    Any other suggestions on questions to ask face to face?

  5. I love LOVE LOVE this idea and opportunity. I think that my AP has similar idea, but we "as a staff" were not receptive. I hate that we weren't more gung ho about it. It could really have an impact on student's education.

    I know it maybe too late add input, but I have you thought about using the time to emphasize that the child can be successful in math. There is so much "math anxiety." Really let them know that you are there to help students and they can succeed in your class.

  6. Great point Miss Teacha. I'm not sure how all this will work out, other teachers besdies me will be going so I don't know how much talking about math specifically that I will get to do.

    Thanks for your input.