Do’s and Don’ts for Successful School Interviews

A school teacher asking questions to a student

School interviews are part of the school calendar and provide a valuable platform for teachers to learn more about their students and connect with each parent or caregiver. They establish effective communication and build a more collaborative relationship between educators and families.

Parent-teacher interviews provide an opportunity for teachers to gain insights into a student’s progress, address concerns, and discuss strategies and goals for their individual growth and academic success. To ensure successful school interviews, we created do’s and don’ts for successful school interviews, where we will unpack some best practices when conducting school interviews for teachers or educators.

Do: Establish A Welcoming Environment

If you have the opportunity to personalise the interview process a bit more, establishing a welcoming environment will help to make parents and caregivers feel comfortable. Improvements such as water and biscuits, an organised desk, making sure you are present for each interview start time, and getting up to greet each parent when face to face, creates a feeling of value rather than rigidness. By setting the right tone, you encourage open and productive discussions about the child’s development and come across interested and proactive about each child’s progress.

Do: Establish Positive Communication Channels with Parents/Caregivers Early On

Building a strong foundation of communication with parents and caregivers is an important factor when working to ensure successful school interviews. Start by establishing clear and accessible communication channels from the beginning of the school year. An app such as Skool Loop where you can easily update parents with notifications, notices, texts, and calls regarding the progress of students helps to bridge that gap. Parents will already feel as though they can approach the teacher with concerns or progress reports, and they will make the interview booking with more openness and readiness for the interview. By developing open lines of communication, you create a supportive partnership between home and school.

Do: Offer Strategies That You Implement In The Classroom That Could Be Used In The Home

It is helpful for parents to learn about things that their child is learning or ways they are interacting in the classroom that can be used within their home environment. For the younger students, it may be ways they are taught to interact or express their feelings. For example, “I felt upset when no one passed to me in the game, and that’s why I did not wish to play.” Or “I felt happy when you made my favourite dinner”.

For older age groups you may want to share specific techniques or activities that have proven successful in the classroom and explain how they can be adapted for home use. For example, if you use a particular method to improve reading comprehension, suggest similar approaches that parents can try during reading sessions with their child. By offering these strategies, you empower parents to play an active role in their child’s education and reinforce consistent learning practices and communication pathways between school and home.

Do: Prepare The Most Relevant Information

Gathering information about each student’s progress, strengths, and areas of improvement ahead of time helps the parent-teacher interview to succeed. This preparation gives you the chance to provide positive feedback to the parents, address specific concerns, and really connect with the parents or caregivers. By bringing the most relevant information to the discussion, you demonstrate your professionalism and create a positive impression.

Don’t: Focus Only On The Challenges

School interviews are a space where you will discuss areas of improvement or challenges faced by students. However, it should not be the sole focus of each interaction. Be sure to highlight the student’s strengths, accomplishments, and positive characteristics so you build a rapport with the family and show that you can see the student for all of their value in the classroom. Acknowledging helps to build confidence and motivates the student to continue striving for excellence. By maintaining a balanced perspective, you can work collaboratively with parents and caregivers to address challenges effectively.

Don’t: Rush The Conversation

During school interviews, you do have limited time, and there can be a tendency to get behind schedule. Keep in mind that you should allow parents and caregivers sufficient time to express their concerns, ask questions, and seek clarification. Actively listen to their perspectives and empathise with their thoughts and contributions. If you appear rushed from the start of the interview, even for an online interview, you will find the parents disengaged and unhappy with the interview. If you feel as though the conversation can be had at a later time, due to the time slot finishing, offer the opportunity to continue the conversation at another time. However, you should make sure you can follow through with this if you promise to communicate outside of the interview setting.

School interviews provide a valuable platform for teachers and principals to engage in meaningful discussions with parents and caregivers. It is helpful to collaborate with colleagues on their approach to parent-teacher interviews if you are feeling nervous or unprepared. By implementing these do’s and avoiding the don’ts outlined in this article, you can be more aware of best practices during the interviews. Successful school interviews are a collaborative effort that requires careful preparation, open communication, and a welcoming environment with the intention of ensuring every student thrives in their classroom environment.

Want to learn more about school interviews? Read our blog about all you need to know about school interviews.